Kolkata: Congress received a major blow when Apurba Sarkar, the party's MLA and chairman of the Kandi Munipality in Murshidabad, joined Trinamool Congress on Thursday afternoon.
State Transport minister Suvendu Adhikari, who looks after Murshidabad, handed over the party flag to Sarkar and welcomed him to the party. With his joining, the control of Kandi Municipality comes under Trinamool, as the councillors joined the party en bloc.
With Sarkar joining Trinamool, president of state Congress Adhir Chowdhury further loses control over the district.
There was a time when Chowdhury and Murshidabad had become synonymous. He had picked a quarrel with veteran Congress leader Atish Chandra Singha and forced him to leave active politics. Since then, he became the last word for Congress in Murshidabad.
After coming to power in 2011, Mamata Banerjee assigned Adhikari to organise the party in Murshidabad. In 2016, Trinamool Congress got four seats in Murshidabad. They were Sagardighi, Jangipur, Shamshergunj and Hariharpara.
Later, Rabiul Alam of Congress joined Trinamool and with Sarkar's joining, the party's MLA strength in the district goes up to 6.
Trinamool does not have any MP from the district. Over the years, Adhikari has been successful in getting the Zilla Parishad and all the seven municipalities. Shaoni Singha Roy of Congress is also likely to join Trinamool Congress on Friday.
Adhir Chowdhury is fast losing grip over the district. Congress is likely to face problems in the ensuing Panchayat election and subsequently in the Lok Sabha polls, scheduled to be held in 2019.