Bengal: Congress makes new MLAs sign loyalty bonds

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Kolkata, May 25: The Congress took a unique step in West Bengal to prevent defection by asking its newly elected 44 MLAs to sign bonds that they would not leave the party under any circumstances and remain loyal to the top leadership.

The Congress had won 42 seats in the 2011 Assembly election in alliance with the Trinamool Congress (TMC). Of the 42 MLAs, 11 joined the TMC later. This year, the Congress has won 44 seats after contesting the polls jointly with the Left.

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The party has alleged that the TMC, which won 211 seats of its own, is now trying to allure some of the Congress legislators to join it. The state Congress chief, Adhir Chowdhury, called a meeting on Tuesday wherein he asked the MLAs to sign the affidavits saying they would not engage in any anti-party activities and would remain loyal to the party.

Thirty-nine MLAs signed the bond as some went out before the exercise started, reports said. They, however, were made to take oath on remaining loyal to the party.

However, the Congress might not be completely successful to prevent defection despite taking this measure, said party insiders.

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