Checkmating former Deputy Speaker Bir Devinder Singh, former Congress MP and convener of Lok Hit Abhiyaan Jagmeet Singh Brar, was named state president as soon as he joined Trinamool Congress on Thursday. The development came a day after Brar took part in a march against demonetisation led by West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee.
Earlier, it was Bir Devinder, who had met Banerjee in Delhi and took part in her march. He had a meeting with TMC vice-president Mukul Roy and modalities were being worked out to make him the face of the party in Punjab. But, before he could be named, it was Brar who became the face of TMC in the state.
In a statement issued by Brar, he said, “This announcement was made earlier today in New Delhi by TMC vice-president and MP Mukul Roy after my meeting with Mamata Banerjee yesterday on the sidelines of her demonetisation protest in the capital.”
Brar said he had been in touch with Mamata Banerjee for the past few months and his recent decision to extend unconditional support to AAP in Punjab was part of this initiative. “I had extended my unconditional support to AAP in Punjab after due consultation with Mamata ji and my decision to join the TMC is also part of a larger initiative to build a national alternative — I will fight the Abdalis of Punjab with Kejriwal and the Tughlak of Delhi with Mamata ji,” he asserted.
Clarifyinmg his position on his equation with AAP, the new Trinamool state chief said, “Neither I nor any of my supporters had joined AA. We had extended our complete support from the outside and chose not to join AAP formally to avoid any chance of confusion or insecurity among their cadres. Our aim was and will remain the removal of Akalis and Congress from Punjab because until this disease is cured, the state cannot revive. We put Punjab first and it will always remain first for us; we are not some Siyasi Saudebaaz who have aligned to serve themselves with full authority at my command. I am confirming that my supporters have joined the TMC with me and TMC will campaign and support AAP 101 per cent in 2017.”