The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen’s (AIMIM) West Bengal convener, Anwar Pasha, and some of his colleagues joined the Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Monday, claiming that the Asaduddin Owaisi-led party was acting as a polariser of votes to help the BJP.
This came even before the party officially announced its intentions to contest next year’s Assembly elections. Earlier this month, the party said it was working in the state for the past three years, and claimed its organisation was ready. It drew a sharp reaction from the TMC, which called it a “communal force deputed by the BJP” to act as a “vote cutter” in elections. The party faced similar accusations from the Opposition in neighbouring Bihar after the recently concluded Assembly elections.
Seated next to state ministers Moloy Ghatak and Bratya Basu, Pasha expressed support for TMC chairperson Mamata Banerjee, calling her the country’s most secular leader and highlighting her fight against the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
Taking a dig at Owaisi, Pasha said, “By just tearing the [citizenship amendment] Bill in Parliament nothing is achieved. One needs to hit the streets as Mamata Banerjee did. I want to tell you, do not come to Bengal, Bengal does not need you. But if you still want to come, we will fight you.”
AIMIM spokesperson Syed Asim Waqar denied Pasha’s departure would affect the party. “He is a very small fry for our party, and he was engaged in anti-party activities. We were going to take action against him but before that, he quit.”
A TMC press release said: “The All India Trinamool Congress is pleased to announce that eminent political personalities and personalities from civil society, Anwar Pasha Murshid Ahmed, Dr Ali Bux, SK Hasikul Islam, Ahmadullah Sardar, Jamshed Ahmed, Nazmul Hussain, Intekhab Alam, Jawed Ahmed Khan, Abul Kasem, Md Zahiruddin Ahmed Khan, Advocate Syed Raihan, Md Tanvir Akhtar, Anjarul Mondal, Ashraful Rahman, Md Sabir Ali Molla, Md Mahiuddin Khan, Tarique Aziz, Nisar Ahmed, Hakim Ali and Motiur Rahman joined ( party).”
State BJP president Dilip Ghosh said, “The TMC has always had relations with these separatist parties. We never entertain them.”
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines