Days after the Lok Sabha election results showed massive inroads made by the BJP in West Bengal, three Trinamool Congress MLAs, including the party’s suspended legislator Subhrangshu Roy, left for the national capital on Monday evening and are likely to join the saffron party on Tuesday, sources said.
The three are learnt to have left Kolkata with senior BJP leader Mukul Roy, who had himself jumped ship from the TMC in 2017.
All three are legislators representing Assembly constituencies under Barrackpore Lok Sabha constituency, in which BJP’s Arjun Singh defeated TMC’s two-time MP from the constituency, Dinesh Trivedi.
While Subhrangshu, Mukul’s son who was suspended for six years on Friday for making alleged anti-party statements, is an MLA from Bijpur Assembly segment, Sunil Singh, a relative of Arjun Singh, is an MLA from Noapara seat and Shilbhadra Dutta represents Barrackpur Assembly seat.
Arjun Singh, a former TMC MLA, had joined the BJP, along with several other TMC leaders, just before the Lok Sabha polls.
After his suspension by the party, Subhrangshu had said that he intends to follow in the footsteps of his father and join the BJP.
Case of misplaced faith
To arrest further defections, senior TMC leader and state minister Firhad Hakim on Monday appealed disgruntled leaders to stand by the party in these trying times. Hakim also said he has contacted former state minister Sovan Chatterjee, who remained inactive during the Lok Sabha polls. “There are many leaders who have distanced themselves from the party. I called Sovan and asked him to work with the party again,” Hakim said.
Monday’s development comes days after West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh had said that many TMC MLAs are are likely to join BJP soon. During the Lok Sabha campaign, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said 40 TMC legislators are in touch with him.
In the 2016 Assembly polls, TMC had won 211 seats, while the BJP got three. The BJP won four of the eight Assembly seats that went to bypolls along with General Election, with TMC winning three and the Congress the other seat, making it 213 for TMC and six for the BJP, with Ghosh quitting after winning the Lok Sabha polls.
While TMC’s tally will remain 213 in the 295-member House, unless the three MLAs resign, and is in no way a threat to the Mamata Banerjee government’s stability, the worry for the party is the BJP’s rise. In Lok Sabha polls, TMC won 22 seats and BJP 18 — the saffron party had a lead in 129 Assembly seats against the TMC’s lead in 158.
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