West Bengal: Noapara Trinamool MLA, 16 councillors join BJP
Kolkata: TMC MLA from Noapara Sunil Singh, along with 16 councillors — 15 from TMC and one from Congress — joined the BJP in the presence of party general secretary and West Bengal in charge Kailash Vijayvargiya and senior leader Mukul Roy in New Delhi Monday.
Sunil Singh won from Noapara seat on a TMC ticket during an Assembly bypoll in 2018. He is a relative of Arjun Singh, who has already jumped ship to BJP from TMC, and is learnt to have played a role in Sunil's defection.
"The BJP has emerged as a strong player in Bengal politics and is the first preference for those who want peace and development in the state," Vijayvargiya said.
Roy, once the second-in-command in the TMC after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, said 10 legislators from various parties had joined the BJP so far.
A large number of TMC councillors from various civic bodies have defected to the BJP following the party's impressive performance in the just-concluded Lok Sabha elections.
Reacting to the development, Hakim said, "The loyalists of Arjun Singh are resorting to goondagiri and threatening our councillors at gunpoint. If someone betrays us then we can't do anything. We have to get rid of these betrayers. Sunil came to me recently and said he wouldn't leave the party. Now, he has joined BJP. What can we do? People elected him because he belonged to TMC. Now, he has changed the party and by doing so he betrayed the trust of those who elected him. Those who have no ideology indulge in such kind of politics."
In a bid to arrest the trend, Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee is all set to hold a meeting with them on Tuesday. "Once someone becomes a public representative, he belongs to no party. We will try to strengthen the civic bodies. Our party chief will hold a meeting with them Tuesday to discuss ways to reach out to the people more effectively," Hakim added.
According to state BJP leaders, five MLAs — Congress's Dulal Chandra Bar (Bagda) and Tushar Kanti Bhattacharya (Bishnupur), TMC's Subrangshu Roy (Bijpur) and Sunil Singh (Noapara) CPM's Debendra Roy (Hemtabad) — have joined the BJP after Lok Sabha polls. In the 2016 state election, the TMC had won 211 out of 294 seats. Congress came second with 44 seats, closely followed by Left Front with 32 seats. BJP won only 3 seats.
(With inputs from Indian Express)