Suvendu Adhikari wins key contest in Bengal, most other turncoats lose
Psephologists and political commentators said that at least 140 TMC leaders including around 37 legislators joined the BJP since 2017.
Barring three, all former Trinamool Congress leaders and legislators who were fielded as candidates by the Bharatiya Janata Party, lost in the 2021 assembly elections. In all, the BJP fielded around a dozen former TMC members as candidates.
Experts say that individual anti-incumbency may have well been a factor in their loss -- apart from all the things that worked for the TMC.
One of the three turncoats who managed to win managed an upset: West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee was defeated by her protégé-turned-adversary Suvendu Adhikari 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.
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BJP National vice president Mukul Roy, who joined the party after quitting TMC in 2017, won from Krishnanagar defeating Tollywood actor turned TMC candidate Koushani Mukherjee. At Natabari in north Bengal, former TMC legislator Mihir Goswami, who joined the BJP in November 2020 won.
Psephologists and political commentators said that at least 140 TMC leaders including around 37 legislators joined the BJP since 2017. Many who joined even at the last minute at the end of 2020 and early this year were given tickets by the BJP.
But all of them , including former minister Rajib Banerjee, a prominent face of the Singur movement Rabindranath Bhattacharya or Mukul Roy’s son Subhranshu Roy, lost.
“We never expected such a result. The feedback and the response which we were getting from people were telling something different. But we accept this result and now will play the role of a constructive opposition,” said BJP’s West Bengal unit chief Dilip Ghosh, while speaking to media after the trends became clear on Sunday evening.
He noted that the BJP has improved its position in terms of seats though its target was to form the government.
On the question of many TMC turncoats losing elections, Ghosh said, “It seems people didn’t accept those who switched to the BJP from the TMC.”
At Bhabanipur in south Kolkata, the chief minister’s home turf, the BJP fielded a 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 , all lost.
This is despite the fact that top BJP leaders including Union home minister Amit Shah campaigned for some of them. Rajib Banerjee, Prabir Ghosal, and Baishali Dalmiya were flown to Delhi by the BJP on a chartered flight where they joined the party in the presence of Shah. The minister also campaigned for Rudranil Ghosh.
“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 the TMC’s Partha Chatterjee, a state minister.