BJP gets presence in Tripura house as expelled Trinamool members join it
A month after Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress expelled its six Tripura legislators, they formally joined BJP on Monday in presence of ministers from the Union and Assam governments.
Sudip Roy Barman, Ashish Kumar Saha, Diba Chandra Hrangkhawl, Biswa Bandhu Sen, Pranjit Singh Roy and Dilip Sarkar, accompanied by hundreds of former Trinamool leaders and workers, joined at a meeting where Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Assam Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and a host of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders were present.
"With the joining of six MLAs, for the first time, the BJP has not only got lawmakers in the house but also become the largest opposition group there," said Tripura unit President Biplab Kumar Deb.
He expressed confidence that his party would win all the state's 60 assembly seats in the February 2018 assembly elections.
On Saturday, the MLAs led by Barman met BJP President Amit Shah in New Delhi and finalised their entry into the party.
Barman said: "We left Congress last year and joined Trinamool to strengthen Mamata Banerjee's hand to fight against the CPI-M led Left parties. But 'Didi' (as Banerjee is popularly know) has changed her stand and now become soft to the Left Front.
"We have on a number of occasions told Mamata Banerjee not to see BJP as the enemy. Since student life, we are fighting against the CPI-M, how can we change our stand now?"
The six had resigned from the Congress in June last year and joined the Trinamool to protest the Congress' electoral alliance with the Left for the 2016 West Bengal assembly elections.
They had, along with rebel Congress legislator Ratanlal Nath, also voted for National Democratic Alliance's Presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind.
A BJP leader said that Sarma, a former Congressman who joined BJP before the Assam elections and is convener of the BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance, facilitated these MLAs' entry into the BJP. "Ratanlal Nath will also join the BJP soon," he added.
The Congress has already served a show-cause notice to Nath for "anti-party activities and meeting BJP leaders" and according to party sources, he may be expelled soon.
Nath, however, has been evading queries about his joining the BJP though he has meeting its leaders, including Amit Shah, for the past several months.