Virtually defying the party stand, senior Congress leader Manas Bhunia on Friday formally accepted his appointment as the chairman of West Bengal assembly’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
The move comes a day ahead of a meeting of the West Bengal Congress leaders and legislators to decide on the issue of Bhunia’s appointment as the PAC chief.
Turning down the plea of Leader of Opposition Abdul Mannan, of the Congress, to appoint Communist Party of India-Marxist’s Sujan Chakraborty to the post, Assembly Speaker Biman Banerjee had announced Bhunia’s appointment.
While the Congress has been urging him to resign from the post, Bhunia, the former state Congress president, claimed he was never “officially informed about the party’s stand”.
“Today I got my letter of appointment as the chairman of the PAC and it was my duty to meet the speaker and acknowledge the receipt of the letter,” Bhunia told media persons after meeting Banerjee.
“Any party decision is conveyed during a formal meeting. Since the last meeting on June 17, there has been no Congress Legislative Party meeting till date. Nobody has said anything about this to me, I came to know only through the media,” said Bhunia arguing his stand was not in defiance of party stand.
While admitting that he was informally asked to resign, Bhunia hit out at Mannan for painting him as “a villain”.
“On July 4 when the speaker announced my appointment as the PAC chairman, Mannan asked me to turn down the post. But I told them that inside the assembly, certain procedures need to be followed. Even if I said verbally, that would have no effect.
“Ignoring my repeated urge for a meeting to discuss the issue, Mannan not only staged a walkout with the legislators but later at a press meet he indirectly called me a conspirator,” said Bhunia.
On the issue of state party chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury sending him messages urging to resign, Bhunia iterated the absence of any official stand of the party.
“In reply to Adhir’s message, I asked him to call a CLP meeting and ask the members if in any meeting an unanimous resolution was passed recommending Sujan Chakraborty to the post,” added Bhunia.