Several turncoats, who abandoned TMC to join BJP, lose elections
Barring three, all former Trinamool Congress leaders and legislators who were fielded as candidates by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), lost in the 2021 West Bengal assembly elections.
Out of the three turncoats who managed to win, chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s protégé-turned-adversary Suvendu Adhikari managed to defeat her in Nandigram in one of the most high-pitched election battles the state has seen in recent times. Adhikari joined the BJP in December 2020.
Also, BJP national vice president Mukul Roy, who joined the party after quitting TMC in 2017, won from Krishnanagar defeating TMC’s actor-turned-candidate Koushani Mukherjee. At Natabari in north Bengal, former TMC legislator Mihir Goswami, who joined BJP in November 2020, had the last laugh.
Psephologists and political commentators said at least 140 TMC leaders, including around 37 legislators, had joined the BJP since 2017. Many who had joined even at the last minute at the end of 2020 and early this year just ahead of the polls were given tickets by the BJP.
But all of them – be it former minister Rajib Banerjee, a prominent face of Singur movement Rabindranath Bhattacharya or Mukul Roy’s son Subhranshu Roy – lost.
“It is a fact that we didn’t get the desired results. We would have to analyse what went wrong,” said BJP state unit chief Dilip Ghosh, while speaking to media after the trends became clearer in the evening.
At Bhabanipur in south Kolkata, chief minister’s home turf, the BJP had fielded TMC turncoat Rudranil Ghosh against veteran TMC leader and state power minister Sovandeb Chatterjee. Ghosh lost.
Former TMC legislators who joined the BJP, such as Baishali Dalmiya from Bally, Dipak Kumar Halder from Diamond Harbour, Prabir Ghosal from Uttarpara and Biswajit Kundu from Kalna, lost the electoral battle.
This is despite the fact that top BJP leaders, including Union home minister Amit Shah, had come to campaign for some of them. Rajib Banerjee, Prabir Ghosal, Baishali Dalmiya were flown to Delhi by the BJP on a chartered flight where they joined the party in Shah’s presence. The minister had even campaigned in the chief minster’s home turf seeking votes for Rudranil Ghosh.
Mamata Banerjee had repeatedly attacked the turncoats, calling them traitors who left the party and even alleged that many of them were neck-deep in corruption.
“This is the reflection of the people’s protest against the BJP’s attempt to take over Bengal by force using outsiders, corrupt leaders and central agencies. The trend is clear,” said Partha Chatterjee, state minister.