Former state Land and Land Reforms Minister Abdur Rezzak Mollah on Friday joined the Trinamool Congress.
Along with him former cricketer Laxmi Ratan Shukla, Vaisakhi Dalmiya, daughter of Jagmohan Dalmiya and former IPS officer RK Mahanti also joined the party. Earlier, Mahanti had joined the BJP. All of them were present at the Netaji Indoor Stadium where extended meeting of the general body of the party was held.
Mollah, who was a powerful member of the CPI(M) was expelled from the party after he criticised the party’s decision to take farm land to set up an automobile factory at Singur after the poll debacle in 2011 when the Left Front’s strength was reduced from 233 in 2006 to 62 in 2011. Mollah criticized both former Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and the Industry Minister Nirupam Sen.
In December last year, Mollah met Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and there was a speculation that he would fight the Assembly elections as a member of Nyaya Bichar party with Trinamool’s support.
Rezzak wanted to fight from Canning East from where he was elected since 1977. But the TMC requested him to contest from Bhangar. Initially, he had opposed this idea but finally joined the party on Friday.
Mollah has contacts with grassroot people. With him beside, Banerjee will be able to get votes to Bengali Muslims of South 24-Pargnas. As an able organiser, he has followers who would work for him in the Assembly polls. A veteran of many battles, Mollah is an expert in the election engineering.
Mohanti’s joining to the party is also significant. In 2011, four IPS officers had contested the polls. They are Sultan Singh, HA Safwi, Rachpal Singh and Abani Mohan Joardar. Of these, Safwi and Singh were made ministers. Safwi is the minister for correctional homes and Singh is in-charge of development and planning.
The former chief secretary Manish Gupta, the current Power Minister had contested from Jadavpur and defeated Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.