Bengal Speaker writes to President seeking intervention in oath ceremony impasse

Kolkata: Bengal Assembly Speaker Biman Bandopadhyay said on Thursday evening that he has written to President Droupadi Murmu seeking her intervention in resolving the impasse over the swearing-in ceremony of two newly-elected Trinamool Congress legislators — Sayantika Banerjee and Reyat Houssen Sarkar.

Bandopadhyay told mediapersons that in the letter, he has requested the President to direct West Bengal Governor C.V. Ananda Bose to nominate either the Speaker or the Deputy Speaker of the state Assembly to administer oath to the two Trinamool MLAs.

“I hope the President will give the right advice to the Governor. There was a similar impasse before as well. At that time, I asked the Lok Sabha Speaker whether he administers oath to the new MPs or it is done by the President.

“He told me that going by tradition, the Lok Sabha Speaker presides over the swearing-in of new MPs. But what is happening in West Bengal now is contradictory to that tradition,” Bandopadhyay said.

The Speaker also said that he tried to contact the Vice-President and C.V. Ananda Bose’s predecessor, Jagdeep Dhankar, to speak to him on the issue.

“But the Vice President could not take my call because of his preoccupations. Hope I will have a discussion with him on the matter soon,” Bandopadhyay said.

To recall, the Bengal Governor had invited Sayantika Banerjee and Reyat Houssen Sarkar to take the oath at the Raj Bhavan on Wednesday.

However, they declined the invitation, claiming that going by convention, in the case of winners of by-elections, the Governor assigns the Speaker or the Deputy Speaker to administer the oath.

But the Governor refused to hold the programme in the Assembly and left for Delhi on Wednesday afternoon.

Reacting to the developments, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said earlier on Thursday, “The two legislators have been elected by people’s mandate. What right does the Governor have to stop them from taking oaths? It has been almost a month that uncertainties are shrouding the issue.”

She also supported the demand of Sayantika Banerjee and Reyat Houssen Sarkar that either the Governor come to the Assembly to administer the oath or nominate the Speaker or the Deputy Speaker to do the same.

The two newly-elected Trinamool legislators also staged sit-in demonstrations in support of their demand within the Assembly premises on Wednesday and Thursday.

“They are right. Either the Governor should nominate the Speaker or the Deputy Speaker to administer the oath, or he should go to the Assembly himself and do the needful. Why will the two MLAs go to the Raj Bhavan,” the CHief Minister asked. – IANS

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