Ever since Mamata Banerjee stormed back to power on May 2, defectors are making a beeline to return to the Trinamool Congress.
After the recently held assembly polls in West Bengal, four BJP MLAs have defected to the TMC. Mukul Roy was the first to return (from BJP) in June, followed by Tanmoy Ghosh (Bishnupur) on August 30 and Biswajit Das (Bagda) on August 31. Soumen Roy, the sitting BJP legislator from Kaliaganj, also joined the TMC. The BJP’s strength has now reduced to 71 seats in the state assembly because Jagannath Sarkar and Nisith Pramanik preferred to keep their Lok Sabha seats despite winning the state election.
On Monday, in the midst of exodus of BJP MLAs to TMC, the chief minister’s nephew and Diamond Harbour MP Abhishek Banerjee once again raised the political heat after he claimed that at least 25 BJP MLAs in West Bengal are in the queue to join the TMC even though they were yet to be accepted by the party.
However, party insiders claimed that the figure could be more as 28 MLAs have started back-door communications to join TMC and there are nearly 10 more prominent names (non-MLAs) who expressed their willingness to join Mamata’s brigade.
Speaking to News18, TMC MP Saugata Roy said: “Yes, it is a fact that a large number of BJP MLAs expressed their desire to join TMC. Abhishek Banerjee had said this. We will accept them in our party. West Bengal is growing under the leadership of Mamata Banerjee and everyone wants to be a part of her mission to put Bengal in the global map.”
TMC sources said some of the probable names (non MLAs including some who contested the state polls) doing the rounds in Bengal’s politics are Rajib Banerjee, Sonali Guha, Dipendu Biswas, Prabir Ghosal, Jitendra Tiwari, Rama Prasad Giri (the BJP candidate from Narayangarh constituency in the 2021 assembly polls who lost to TMC’s Atta Surya Kanta) and Sabyasachi Dutta.
Both Sonali Guha and Dipendu Biswas publicly announced their willingness to return to TMC and also pleaded before Mamata Banerjee to forgive them for joining BJP. Rest of the leaders, in the recent past, were heard meeting TMC senior leaders, while some spoke against the BJP’s central leadership for misleading the people of Bengal.
Colonel Diptanshu Chaudhary (Retd) is also in the probable list of ‘Ghar Wapsi’ who jumped to BJP before the state polls. He was with the BJP in 2016 and joined the TMC to strengthen its social media team after a brief stint with the saffron brigade.
“As far as MLAs are concerned, some of them including Krishna Kalyani (BJP MLA from Raiganj who defeated TMC’s Kanaiya Lal Agarwal) may join TMC soon,” TMC sources said.
There are rumours that Dibakar Gharami, MLA of Sonamukhi constituency and Shankar Ghosh, BJP MLA from Siliguri may also join the TMC. However, there is no official confirmation so far about their future political stand.
Two BJP MLAs from Matua-dominated Bongaon in North 24-Parganas district and one from North Bengal is also in the list of probable induction in TMC. Not the least, a BJP MLA from South Dinajpur having broad knowledge of finance may join TMC in the coming week.
Another politician Sarala Murmu, who joined BJP despite getting a ticket from the TMC, and ex-MLA Amal Acharya also expressed their desperation to work for Mamata Banerjee again. Recently, Murmu had said, “I made a mistake and I requested Didi to forgive me”.
BJP spokesperson Shamik Bhattacharya termed Abhishek Banerjee’s claim a political gimmick and said, “Time will tell how many will leave BJP.”
With inputs from News18