Former Union minister Babul Supriyo joins TMC in Kolkata
In a major blow to the Bharatiya Janata Party, former Union minister Babul Supriyo joined the Trinamool Congress on Saturday in Kolkata.
“Today, in the presence of National General Secretary @abhishekaitc and RS MP @derekobrienmp, former Union Minister and sitting MP @SuPriyoBabul joined the Trinamool family. We take this opportunity to extend a very warm welcome to him!” the TMC tweeted.
“It all happened in the last four days to be exact. I spoke to Derek O’Brien regarding a matter related to my daughter’s school. Then from Didi (Mamata) and Abhishek, I got a huge opportunity. Huge trust and faith were entrusted upon me. I will resign from the MP’s post from Asansol. I will play by the rule book. I will meet Didi (Mamata Banerjee) on Monday. I didn’t expect this development. It was an unexpected opportunity,” said Supriyo while speaking to the media.
On July 31, Supriyo had said that he was quitting politics and would soon resign from the Lok Sabha. The announcement had come weeks after the 50-year-old was dropped from the Narendra Modi-led Cabinet.
In the same post, he also ruled out joining any other political party — TMC, Congress or the CPI(M). He, however, later edited the post to remove this part. “I had given seven years moving away from music. But then I felt that everything had come to a full stop. I was disillusioned. I had said from my heart that I was quitting politics. My friends told me that my decision to quit politics was emotional and wrong. There is no politics of revenge. I am happy that I am changing my decision and coming back,” Supriyo said while adding that the TMC would soon reveal what responsibilities would be given to him.
Earlier, he decided not to resign from his MP’s post on the request of top BJP leaders. Recently, the BJP had named him as one of their 20 star campaigners against Mamata Banerjee in the upcoming Bhawanipore bye-elections.
“On Saturday, he went to the south-Kolkata office of chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee and joined the party,” said a senior TMC leader.
Supriyo, a two-time MP from Asansol who was the Union minister of state for environment was dropped from the Cabinet in a major reshuffle on July 7. Earlier he had contested the West Bengal assembly elections but was defeated by heavyweight TMC leader and state minister Arup Biswas from Tollygunge.
“He joined the BJP with a ticket to contest the Lok Sabha elections and was given a ministerial berth after winning. Now that his ministerial berth is gone he is joining the TMC despite the fact he had said in his post that he is leaving politics and won’t join any party. I don’t think this is transparency and reveals a good side. This could be a blow to his credibility,” said Rahul Sinha, senior BJP leader.
It was on May 4, 2014 ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls that Narendra Modi during an election campaign rally at Asansol in West Bengal’s West Burdwan district had said: “I want Babul in Parliament”.
Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, leader of the Congress party in the Lok Sabha said: “There are professional stars who joined BJP to gain something. He was made the minister. Later when he was dropped he joined the TMC. Mamata is always ready to accept such leaders.”
This comes just three days after Trinamool Congress MP Arpita Ghosh resigned from the Rajya Sabha leaving the post vacant.
“I don’t think it would be a big oranisational blow to the BJP as Supriyo was not given any such portfolio to strengthen the party. But this definitely would be a blow to the party as far as public perception is concerned. With one after another leader quitting the party, a message is going out that not only has the BJP lost the assembly polls, the party may not continue to remain a strong opposition,” said Biswanath Chakraborty, political commentator.