Six legislators cross-vote in West Bengal
Three legislators of the Left Front and two of the Congress in the West Bengal assembly voted for the ruling Trinamool Congress candidate in the Rajya Sabha polls Friday while a Trinamool member voted for an opposition-backed contestant.
The Congress suspended both its rebel members - Sushil Roy and Himani Biswas - who voted for Ahmed Hasan Imran.
Ananta Deb Adhikary and Dasarath Tirkey of the Revolutionary Socialist Party and Forward Bloc's Sunil Mondal also backed Imran, who now looks favourite to win.
On the other side, suspended Trinamool Congress lawmaker Sikha Mitra voted in favour of independent candidate A.S. Malihabadi, who has the support of both the Congress and the Left Front.
All six legislators confirmed they had cross voted.
There are six candidates in fray for the five Rajya Sabha seats from the state.
Three Trinamool candidates - actor Mithun Chakrabarty, former MP K.D. Singh and painter Jogen Chowdhury - as well as the Communist Party of India-Marxist's Ritabarata Banerjee look set to be elected.
A tough contest is on the cards for the fifth seat between Hasan and Malihabadi. The Left earlier said it would transfer its surplus votes to ensure Malihabadi's victory.
Roy and Biswas attacked their party saying they could not back a candidate jointly supported by the Congress and Left Front.
Condemning the two legislators, state Congress president Pradip Bhattacharya said the duo has been placed under suspension.
Mondal said he voted for the Trinamool to protest against the understanding between the Left and the Congress. "Why should I vote for a candidate who has the support of the Congress?"
He also denied allegations that monetary transactions were involved in his decision to back the Trinamool. "This is baseless. This only shows how low the Left has stooped."
Suspended Trinamool lawmaker Mitra said he voted for Malihabadi as her party did not send any communication to her about who she should support.
RSP leader Subhas Naskar said the two party legislators will have to face the wrath of the people.
"This is unprecedented. We will take strong action against them. The public will seek answers from them."
Trinamool general secretary Mukul Roy said: "There are some Left leaders who have now voted for us for ideological reasons."
(Posted on 07-02-2014)