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5 sitting TMC MLAs, other leaders join BJP

Kolkata: Four former Trinamool Congress (TMC) MLAs who did not get tickets along with the party's nominee from Habibpur in Malda joined the BJP on Monday afternoon.

Welcoming them, Dilip Ghosh, the state BJP president, handed over the party flags in presence of other leaders such as Suvendu Adhikari and Mukul Roy.

The former MLAs are Sonali Guha (Satgachia), footballer-turned-politician Dipendu Biswas (Basirhat), Rabindranath Bhattacharya (Singur) and Jatu Lahiri (Shibpur).

The new entrants said they had not been informed by the party before the list of candidates was announced. Bhattacharya and Lahiri were not given tickets as they are more than 80 years old. Guha was not given a nomination on health grounds.

Sarala Murmu, TMC's nominee for the 2021 Assembly election, also left the party and joined BJP. Sensing that she might shift her allegiance, the party announced the name of a new candidate, Pradip Baskey from the Habibpur Assembly seat.

The BJP also took control of the 38-member Malda Zilla Parishad after its 22 members changed sides. Bengali actress Tanusree Chakraborty also joined the BJP.

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