Kolkata: The ruling Trinamool Congress and the opposition Congress and CPI(M) were today engaged in a blame game over cross voting that took place in West Bengal during the presidential poll, with the opposition accusing the TMC of covertly helping the BJP.
The Trinamool Congress has denied the allegation. President-elect Ram Nath Kovind, who was supposed to get votes of six MLAs of the West Bengal Assembly – three of GJM and three of BJP – got votes of 11 MLAs which has kicked off a debate among political parties here.
The cross-voting, however, was welcomed by the BJP, which termed it as a signal of “the TMC fast losing ground in Bengal”. Apart from cross-voting, 10 votes from the Assembly were also declared invalid.
The Congress, the Left Front and the Trinamool Congress had decided to support joint opposition candidate Meira Kumar. The total number of MLAs of these three parties is 287. The BJP and its ally the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) each has three MLAs.
“All 211 MLAs of the Trinamool voted for Meira Kumar. We do not know what the legislators of other parties may have done,” the TMC said in a statement. “Why are you asking us? Please ask the CPI(M) and the Congress,” a senior TMC leader, who did not wish to be named, told PTI.
The opposition Congress and CPI(M) denied the allegations that its legislators were involved in cross-voting and accused the TMC of “entering into a covert deal with the BJP” in order to save its leaders from CBI probe into Narada and Saradha scams.
“The CBI is investigating the Narada and Saradha scam cases. Several leaders of the TMC have already been summoned. That is why they have entered into a deal with the BJP in this presidential election. That is why TMC MLAs have cross voted,” West Bengal Congress chief Adhir Chowdhury said.
“Earlier also the TMC and the BJP had played a fixed match in Bengal. In presidential poll also the TMC has helped the BJP through cross-voting and invalid votes,” CPI(M) legislative party leader Sujan Chakraborty said.
However, BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya told PTI, “The TMC is fast losing its grip over Bengal and that is their biggest frustration. Leaders and elected representatives of the TMC have started to revolt against the party.