Manjul Krishna Thakur, Minister of State for Refugee Relief and Rehabilitation in the Mamata Banerjee cabinet, quit Trinamool Congress on Thursday to join BJP. Thakur’s son Subrata, who was vice-chairman of the TMC-controlled Gaighata panchayat samiti, also joined BJP. At a function in Kolkata, BJP state unit president Rahul Sinha handed over party flags to the father and the son.
While junior TMC leaders have defected to the BJP earlier, this is the first time a minister has crossed over.
Speaking at the function, Sinha said: “The beginning of the end for the TMC has started as more ministers and senior leaders of the party have expressed their willingness to join our party. But we have decided not to take anybody who is tainted in the Saradha chit fund case,’’ he said.
Thakur said the TMC was no longer a party for honest people. “I felt claustrophobic as so many dishonest people have entered the party. Moreover, the TMC government has not done anything for the Motua community to which I belong. So now, I believe that under the leadership of Narendra Modiji, our community will prevail over all difficulties,” he said.
Manjul’s exit would have mattered little to TMC, had he not been the younger brother of late Kapilkrishna Thakur, former TMC MP from Bongaon and Sanghadhipati (head) of Motua sect. The sect forms over 50 per cent of the electorate of Bongaon Lok Sabha seat, which is going to bypolls on February 13.
The death of Kapilkrishna Thakur left the Motua Thakurbari, the community’s supreme seat, divided.
While one faction has announced his wife Mamatabala Thakur his successor, another has named Manjul as its new head. Things got worse when the TMC announced Mamatabala as its candidate for the bypoll. Now, BJP is considering fielding Manjul’s son Subrata as its candidate.
Notably, at the media conference in which he joined BJP, Manjul demanded a CBI inquiry into the death of Kapilkrishna. “He died in mysterious circumstances. We want a CBI inquiry into his death,’’ he said.
Trinamool while expelling Manjul and his son, said their defection would not make any difference to the bypoll results. “His quitting is a good riddance,” said the party.