October 5, 2021 4:51:22 am
A day after the Trinamool Congress’s (TMC) emphatic victory in the Bhabanipur Assembly by-poll, and the Samserganj and Jangipur polls, speculation spread on Monday about four more BJP MLAs joining the TMC ahead of upcoming Assembly by-polls in four seats. The names that are doing the rounds are Hiran Chatterjee from Kharagpur, Neeraj Zimba from Darjeeling, Sukumar Roy from Cooch Behar North, and Sonamukhi MLA Dibakar Gharami.
Sources in the BJP said these four legislators had been absent from several party programmes in the last few days. They were reportedly maintaining a distance from the party before making the switch to the ruling party in Bengal. Last week, the MLAs had skipped the felicitation ceremony of new state BJP president Sukanta Majumdar in Kolkata despite the party’s whip to its legislators about attending the event.
Majumdar told The Indian Express on Monday, “I still believe that no leader will leave our party. I will again appeal to all our lawmakers to stay with us. But if they do so then we will face no issues. Voters remain attached to the party and not to the leaders. Those who believe in our ideals will not desert us. People have loyalty towards a party and not towards any individual.”
A party leader who did not wish to be named claimed that some MLAs were not attending party programmes because of personal reasons. “In some places, the TMC is putting pressure on our MLAs to defect. Rumours are being spread against them. They are being forced to take such a decision,” the leader added.
Sources said the BJP state leadership had sent a report to central leaders about the matter, mentioning the possibility of these four MLAs joining the TMC. This speculation about defections from the BJP came days after Sukanta Majumdar appealed to party leaders to unite and work together. He made the comment last Friday after returning from Delhi, where the party’s central leadership told him to stem the exodus of leaders and MLAs.
The same day, the BJP’s Raiganj MLA Krishna Kalyani announced that he had decided to leave the party because of differences with Raiganj MP Debashree Chaudhuri. Since the state election results were announced in May, four state legislators, including Mukul Roy, have joined the TMC. Last month, former Union minister and party MP Babul Supriyo also switched over to the Mamata Banerjee-led party.
Meanwhile, the BJP formed its election management team for the upcoming Assembly by-polls in Dinhata (Cooch Behar district), Santipur (Nadia), Khardaha (North 24 Parganas), and Gosaba (South 24 Parganas), a day after the TMC announced its candidates from these seats. The elections will be held on October 30.
The saffron party also appointed observers and co-observers for each constituency. In Dinhata, Cooch Behar MP Nisith Pramanik will serve as the BJP’s observer while Jalpaiguri MP Jayanta Kumar Roy will be the co-observer. Ranaghat MP Jagannath Sarkar has been appointer the observer in Santipur while Anupam Dutta will be the co-observer. In Khardaha, Barrackpore MP Arjun Singh will be the observer while Purulia MP Jyotirmoy Singh Mahato will be the observer in Gosaba.
“We have given the responsibility to our leaders for the by-polls and they have already started working. Meetings have been held to discuss party strategies. We will contest in every seat with our full strength. Names of our candidates will be announced in two to three days,” said state BJP president Sukanta Majumdar.
The by-polls in Dinhata and Santipur are being held as their Assembly representatives Nisith Pramanik and Jaganath Sarkar did not take oath as MLAs after winning the polls earlier this year to retain their parliamentary seats. The by-elections in Khardaha and Gosaba are being held following the death of the victorious TMC candidates.
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