Senior TMC leader Mukul Roy Monday submitted his resignation as chairman of Public Accounts Committee in West Bengal Assembly to Speaker Biman Banerjee citing ill health.
Roy, who won the Krishnanagar Uttar constituency in Nadia district on a BJP ticket in the state election last year, had defected to the ruling Trinamool Congress in the state just a month later in June 2021. He did not, however, resign as a legislator despite being asked to do so by the saffron party.
"I have sent my resignation as PAC chairman to Speaker Biman Banerjee. My tenure (as PAC chairman) was for a year. It is about to end soon. So I decided to resign," Roy told PTI.
In his letter to the speaker Roy wrote, "I humbly request you to accept my resignation from the post of chairman and as a member of PAC, West Bengal, as I am unable to discharge my duties owing to ill health".
According to TMC sources, the top leadership of the party had asked Roy to resign as PAC chairman as he is absent from most of its meetings. "Roy used to remain absent from most of the meetings citing ill health and TMC senior MLA Tapas Roy used to chair them. Mukul Roy recently spoke to the party leadership and expressed his desire to step down from the post," a senior TMC leader said.
The speaker had appointed Roy as PAC chairman in July last year, while the opposition BJP had wanted its MLA Ashok Lahiri to head the committee. Banerjee had last month rejected the Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari's plea for disqualifying Roy as MLA, saying he did not find merit in the argument.
Ambika Roy, a BJP legislator, had moved Calcutta High Court in July last year, challenging Mukul Roy's appointment as PAC chairman and prayed for the nomination of an opposition member to the post as is the tradition.
Reacting to the Roy's resignation, West Bengal BJP spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya said he should have resigned "long back". "First, Roy's appointment as PAC chairman itself was unethical and unconstitutional. The post of PAC chairman belongs to the opposition leader. He should have resigned long back," he said.
Tapas Roy, who is the minister of state for planning and statistics in West Bengal, dubbed the charges as "baseless". "Mukul Roy was appointed the PAC chairman following all norms. BJP has a habit of complaining about everything," he said.
On separate occasions between 2016-2021, Congress MLAs Manas Bhunia and Sankar Singh, who like Mukul Roy had joined TMC without resigning as legislators, were appointed as PAC chairmen.
(With PTI inputs)