Four months after six axed Trinamool Congress (TMC) MLAs joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the lawmakers were recognised as saffron party legislators in the Tripura Assembly on Sunday, Speaker Ramendra Chandra Debnath announced.
"The six axed TMC MLAs have given recognition as BJP legislators. They would not get any extra facilities or benefits as BJP lawmakers," the speaker told IANS.
"After receiving a letter on November 8 signed by the six MLAs requesting me to recognise them as BJP legislators, I sent a 14-day notice to the TMC chairperson. As there was no reply or objection, I gave them the recognition."
Led by Sudip Roy Barman, five lawmakers -- Ashish Kumar Saha, Diba Chandra Hrangkhawl, Biswa Bandhu Sen, Pranjit Singh Roy and Dilip Sarkar -- accompanied by hundreds of former Trinamool Congress leaders and workers joined the BJP on August 7.
On Saturday, Assembly Secretary Bamdeb Majumder issued a common letter to the six MLAs about the speaker's recognition.
The issue shook the house during the last session of the Tripura Assembly on November 14 when Barman accused Debnath of giving them recognition.
The speaker said that he had told the six MLAs that due to lack of time before the two-day assembly session, it was not possible to complete the formalities to officially recognise them as BJP MLAs.
Reacting to Debnath's recognition, Saha said that the "Speaker deliberately delayed the process of our due recognition as BJP MLAs".
On July 3, TMC Secretary General and West Bengal Education Minister Partha Chatterjee said in Kolkata that the party had no relations with the six Tripura MLAs, who were close to TMC founder leader Mukul Roy, who is now in the BJP.
The CPI-M-led Left Front has 51 members and the Congress only three members in the House.
After the recognition of the six legislators as BJP members, the Tripura Assembly got its first BJP members since the northeastern state got a legislative body -- a 32-member Territorial Council 60 years ago in 1957.