In a major setback to the opposition CPI (M), veteran communist leader and former MLA Biswajit Dutta has joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and alleged widespread factionalism, corruption and criminal practices in the communist party. The 68-year-old was associated with CPI (M) since 1964.
Dutta joined BJP in a mandal office inauguration ceremony at Khowai district, 50 km from capital Agartala, on Friday evening. He was welcomed by BJP national secretary and Tripura in-charge Sunil Deodhar.
Speaking to indianexpress.com this morning, the former CPI (M) state committee leader said he was subjected to a “cruel conspiracy” as a result of which he was hospitalised ahead of the February 18 assembly election and replaced by another Left Front candidate. Dutta, who had on April 18 resigned from all positions in CPI (M), alleged there was an “evil caucus” constantly conspiring against him for the past couple of years.
Tripura Left Front committee had unanimously announced Biswajit Dutta as candidate ahead of the assembly election this year. But on January 28 he was admitted at the Gobind Ballabh Pant (GBP) Hospital here with complaints of severe respiratory ailments. He was later replaced by former SFI leader Nirmal Biswas, who won with over 2,700 vote margin.
Referring his “illness”, Dutta said he was forced to relinquish his claim to contest as Left Front candidate by “staging drama of hospitalisation”. “I was not at all ill. I found CPI (M) spokesperson Goutam Das standing in the hospital room where I was being treated. Later, the party stated that I was unfit for contesting and replaced me,” he said.
Asked how he plans to adjust his communist ideals in BJP, Biswajit said, “My ideals have always been to serve the people. I shall continue to do so in BJP. I believe I shall be able to work for people, give voice to the voiceless and help the downtrodden under the leadership of Biplab Deb and BJP leadership.”
Reacting to the allegation, CPI (M) state leader and former Tripura Assembly Deputy Speaker Pabitra Kar said, “Everyone knows that Biswajit Dutta was ill. He was unwell when we announced him candidate. But then his health got worse. How could CPI (M) continue with him as candidate in such an unhealthy condition? Fresh blood has to be accommodated. He was always given due importance. No conspiracy was hatched against him.”
BJP Tripura in-charge Sunil Deodhar welcomed Biswajit in his party last evening and said he doesn’t have a single complaint of corruption against himself in his long political career spanning over five decades. “Biswajit Dutta is among ten most honest political leaders in Tripura. Our party has welcomed him with respect and honour,” Deodhar said.