Trinamool Congress’s Lok Sabha MP from Bishnupur, Saumitra Khan, joined the BJP on Wednesday afternoon. The TMC subsequently expelled him and Bolpur MP Anupam Hazra for “anti-party activities”. Party sources said Hazra, like Khan, spoke out against the party on social media. Meanwhile, Khan’s personal assistant was arrested by West Bengal police under the Arms Act on Wednesday. Read this story in Bangla
Khan joined the BJP at the party headquarters in Delhi in the presence of Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha and senior party leader Mukul Roy.
He is the first Lok Sabha MP to quit the TMC and join the BJP. In November 2017, Roy, once ‘number two’ in the TMC and a Rajya Sabha MP, joined the BJP. Khan is known to be close to Roy.
Unlikely to impact TMC poll prospects
While Saumitra Khan's move to the BJP may boost the confidence of grassroot-level party workers, it is unlikely to have a significant impact on TMC's prospects in the Parliamentary polls. Party chief Mamata Banerjee's image and TMC's strong grassroot-level organisation are believed to be the reasons behind the victory of Khan and Anupam Hazra in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and unless the BJP is able to lure more popular TMC leaders into its fold, there won't be much impact on its prospects.
“There is a syndicate raj and police raj in Bengal… The law and order situation of Bengal is deteriorating day by day and Trinamool Congress is supporting goondas,” Khan said.
“What is the definition of ‘anti-party activities’? I hope they tell me. How can writing on Facebook on contemporary issues be dubbed as ‘anti-party activity?’” said Hazra.
“For nearly a year, he (Khan) was seen posting statements on social media and getting involved in some activities which the party did not support…. He had no relation with the organisation. We have also decided to expel Anupam Hazra… for similar anti-party activities,” TMC secretary-general Partha Chatterjee said.
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