The TMC on Saturday took over the Kultali panchayat samiti in South-24 Parganas district, with 13 CPM members defecting to the ruling party and giving them 15 seats out of 27.
Until now, the CPM had stayed in control with 19 seats, while the TMC only had two. Senior TMC leader and state Fire and Housing Minister Sovan Chatterjee inducted the defectors into the party by handing over the party flag. “Thirteen members, including the president and vice-president, have been inspired by the development spree under the leadership of Mamata Banerjee, and joined the TMC,” Chatterjee said.
In the last Assembly election, the TMC won all the seats in South-24 Parganas, but CPM managed to win Kultali constituency. Experts say that after losing control over the constituency, which was known as the CPM stronghold, the party’s strength received a major jolt.
Senior Left leaders said that the TMC’s stick-and-carrot practice, with the use of the police and administration, was causing the defections. “They are either luring or coercing elected members to join the ruling party. They are being threatened with implication in false cases if they deny the offer,” Bose said.
CPM state secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra, however, said that the defections would purify the party.
“It is good that these people are leaving. The more such people leave, the better it will be for the party, as they are impurities who are unable to restrain their greed for wealth and posts,” he said.
Coming down heavily on Mamata, he said, “Even after coming to power with such a majority, she seems petrified by the Opposition, and her greed to grab more and more power has grown. This practice will definitely backfire on her.”