Registering a protest against the electoral tie-up between Congress and CPI-(M) in the run up to the West Bengal Legislative Assembly election, 6 Congress legislators in Tripura finally tendered their resignation to their High Command on 27 March, 2016. The coterie was led by then Leader of the Opposition, Sudip Roy Barman. TPCC president, Birajit Sinha sought their expulsion as MLAs by producing legal documents on defection to the Assembly speaker. Roy Burman countered Sinha by demanding the status of principal opposition party of the Legislative Assembly. Meanwhile, things came to a head for the Congress when MLA Jiten Sarkar resigned as MLA and defected to CPI-(M) on 6 June, 2016 in the evening. Biswabandhu Sen, one of the six-dissident Congress MLAs was slapped an expulsion notice by the TPCC. The remaining five dissidents joined the Trinamool Congress on 7 August, 2016 itself.
Subsequently, Speaker Ramendra Debnath accorded the status of MLA to the newly-joined TMC legislators.
The six TMC MLAs are Sudip Roy Burman, Ashish Saha, Biswabandhu Sen, D C Hrangkhwal, Pranajit Sinha Roy and Dilip Sarkar. The remaining Congress MLAs are TPCC President Birajit Sinha himself, Ratan Lal Nath and Gopal Chandra Roy. TMC MLA Ashish Saha termed this feat as victory of democracy.
Sudip Roy Barman speaks
‘The Speaker has not done a favour to us. He accorded us the legislator-status as per a Supreme Court ruling is concerned. However, the leader of the opposition is yet to be decided. We would recommend someone to the speaker and he’ll take the final call. We’ll take the next step as per the Speaker’s decision.’ said TMC MLA Sudip Roy Burman.
Sudip Roy Barman added: ‘Nevertheless, we will be an active opposition not only on the streets but in the Legislative Assembly also.’
Shilajit Kar Bhowmik