Congress leaders Kirti Azad, Ashok Tanwar join Trinamool Congress
In a fillip to the Trinamool Congress ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, Congress leaders Kirti Azad and Ashok Tanwar on Tuesday joined the Mamata Banerjee-led party in New Delhi.
Earlier in the day, former Janata Dal (United) leader Pavan Varma also joined the Trinamool Congress in the presence of Mamata Banerjee.
The development comes amid the West Bengal chief minister's visit to the national capital ahead of Parliament's Winter Session on November 29.
"It makes me happy to say that under the leadership of Mamata Banerjee, I'll work for the development of the nation. Today, a personality like her is needed in the country who can show the country the right direction," cricketer-turned-politician Kirti Azad was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
The cricketer who was part of India's winning World Cup team in 1983 forayed into politics with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and became a parliamentarian from Bihar's Darbhanga. However, he was suspended from the BJP in 2015 over “anti-party” activities, following which he joined the Congress in 2019 to contest the Lok Sabha elections from Dhanbad. He lost to BJP's Pashupati Nath Singh by a huge margin.
On the other hand, a former president of the Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee, Ashok Tanwar, quit the party in 2019.
The Trinamool Congress posted on Twitter the news of the induction of the three leaders into the party fold.
A close confidante of Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, Varma was removed from the JD(U) along with political strategist Prashant Kishor over their disagreements with the party chief on the controversial amended citizenship laws.
“Looking at the current political circumstances and the potential in Mamata Banerjee, I have today joined Trinamool Congress,” Varma said.
The Trinamool Congress said Varma's rich political experience will help the party serve the people of India and “take this nation forward to even better days.”
Kirti Azad is the third Congress leader to join the Trinamool Congress after Goa's Luizinho Faleiro Assam's Sushmita Dev.
Meanwhile, Mamata Banerjee, who is on a three-day visit to New Delhi, is expected to meet several opposition leaders and prominent personalities. She is also likely to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
It is the Trinamool Congress supremo's second visit to the national capital since her party came to power in West Bengal with a thumping majority for the third consecutive term in May this year.
The visit is seen by political experts as a booster shot to opposition unity against the BJP ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.