Jolting the ruling party in West Bengal where Assembly elections are due before next summer, 10 TMC MLAs, an MP and a former MP joined the BJP Saturday at the public meeting in Midnapore.
Among them are former TMC heavyweight and MLA Suvendu Adhikari; Bardhaman Purba MP Sunil Kumar Mondal; another six MLAs of TMC; one MLA each of CPI, CPM and Congress; several TMC district leaders and councillors. While the TMC dismissed them as good riddance, their number, the range of their political affiliation and their experience, BJP leaders said, were straws in the shifting wind.
Suvendu Adhikari (TMC MLA, former state minister): A Congress Chhatra Parishad leader at the age of 20, he joined the co-operative movement in Midnapore in 1996. Three years later, he joined the TMC. During the Nandigram movement, Adhikari became one of the important lieutenants of Mamata Banerjee. According to a section of the TMC, he played a major role during the 2011 assembly elections when the TMC secured a majority for the first time. He was MP from Tamluk in 2009 and 2014. In 2016, he resigned as MP and became MLA from Nandigram. He was a key member of Banerjee’s second cabinet.
Sunil Kumar Mondal (TMC MP): He started his political career in Forward Bloc, a Left Front partner, and was elected MLA from Galsi in 2011. As a Forward Bloc MLA, he voted for the Trinamool Congress candidate during the Rajya Sabha elections in February 2014. Subsequently, he joined the Trinamool Congress. He has been elected to Lok Sabha twice from Bardhaman Purba. He is known to be a close associate of Mukul Roy.
Shilbhadra Dutta (TMC MLA): Started his political career as leader of Congress Chhatra Parishad. He later joined the Congress. In 2006, he switched to TMC. He was made district youth president of TMYC (Trinamool Youth Congress) in 2009. Elected MLA from Barrackpore in 2011, he was re-elected in 2016.
Tapasi Mondol (CPM MLA): In the 2016 assembly elections, CPM district leader Tapasi Mondal was candidate of the Left Front from the Haldia constituency of Purba Medinipur district.
Ashok Dinda (CPI MLA): A former CPI leader, Dinda was elected MLA from Tamluk of Purba Midnapore in 2016. He was the face of the CPI in Purba Midnapore district.
Sudip Mukherjee (Congress MLA): Was elected MLA from Purulia in 2016 as a candidate of the Congress. Had a long association with the Congress.
Saikat Panja (TMC MLA): Was elected TMC MLA from Manteswar during the bye-election in November 2016 after his father and sitting MLA Sajal Panja passed away. Became a rebel in the last three-four months.
Dipali Biswas (TMC MLA): In the 2016 assembly election, Dipali Biswas contested from Gazole constituency as a CPM candidate. After Suvendu Adhikari became the party observer of Malda, Biswas joined the TMC in July 2016.
Sukra Munda (TMC MLA): MLA from Nagrakata in Alipurduar district. In 2011, the TMC had an alliance with Congress and the Nagrakata seat was won by Congress candidate Joseph Munda. But in 2016, TMC made Sukra its candidate and he won.
Biswajit Kundu (TMC MLA): Two-term MLA from Kalna. Elected from Kalna in 2011, he won again in 2016. A close associate of Suvendu Adhikari, he was among the MLAs who held a meeting at Sunil Mondal’s residence with Adhikari after he resigned as MLA.
Banashree Maity (TMC MLA): Represents Kanthi Uttar constituency of East Midnapore. She is said to be close to the Adhikari family. She won from Kanthi in 2011 and 2016.
Shyamaprasad Mukherjee (former TMC MLA): Used to represent Bishnupur constituency in Bankura district. He was also a minister in the first cabinet of Mamata Banerjee. After his name came up in the chit fund case, he was removed from the cabinet. Lost the 2016 election from Bishnupur.
Dasrath Tirkey (former TMC MP): Joined TMC from RSP in 2014 and was elected MP from Alipurduar. He lost to BJP’s John Barla in 2019. Was a three-term MLA (2001, 2006 and 2011) from Kumargram and MoS PWD during the Left Front rule.