Two-term Rajya Sabha MP Chandan Mitra said Wednesday that he had resigned from the BJP. Amid speculation that he may join the Trinamool Congress (TMC), Mitra said he would “not comment before Monday”.
TMC sources, however, said Mitra, the Editor and Managing Director of The Pioneer, was likely to join the party. “Senior TMC leaders in Delhi and our party supremo have already held talks with him. He has shared his willingness to join Mamata Banerjee. We are confident that he will join TMC,” said a source close to Banerjee.
“Talks are on with him, and he may join us shortly,” TMC Lok Sabha MP Sisir Adhikari told The Indian Express. While there was speculation that Mitra may join the TMC at the Martyrs’ Day rally in Kolkata on July 21, party sources said nothing had been finalised yet.
The Indian Express reported on July 17 that Mitra had sent his resignation to BJP chief Amit Shah. When contacted, he had declined to comment.
Meanwhile, BJP leaders said they were not aware of the development. “I really do not know about this. It is his decision,” said Rahul Sinha. BJP general secretary.
“I have no information about his resignation. I am surprised to hear that he has left the party,” said senior party leader Kailash Vijayvargiya.
Mitra was a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha from August 2003 to 2009. In June 2010, BJP got him elected to the upper house from Madhya Pradesh. His term ended in 2016.
Although he was a prominent face of the BJP in Delhi circles and often defended the party on crucial issues, Mitra, considered to be close to party veteran L K Advani, was sidelined under the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah leadership. A party leader said the new leadership saw Mitra as a key member of the “Advani camp”, which has been marginalised since 2014 when the BJP came to power.
Of late, Mitra had started criticising the party. When the BJP was defeated in the Kairana bypoll in May, Mitra was quoted as saying that the party did not pay adequate attention to the issue of sugarcane farmers. Terming the defeat as a “serious setback”, Mitra told NDTV that the BJP would have a serious fight on its hands in the run-up to the 2019 general elections if the Opposition unites.