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In setback to Mamata, Trinamool MLA, 11 councillors switch to BJP

Desertions are happening at a time when Bengal chief minister and TMC party chief Mamata Banerjee is battling statewide protests by junior doctors.

india Updated: Jun 17, 2019 22:48 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
TMC desertions,BJP growing in Bengal,TMC MLAs join BJP
The saffron party’s stock is at its highest with victory on 18 Lok Sabha seats out of a total of 42 in the state. (ANI)

Dealing another blow to Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, the party’s Noapara legislator Sunil Singh and 11 councillors of Garulia municipality joined the Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP)  in New Delhi on Monday.

All the leaders are from the North 24 Parganas district where BJP has made significant inroads in the recently held Lok Sabha elections. Singh is also the chairman of the Garulia civic body.

Polls will be held in as many as 82 civic bodies, including Garulia, and Kolkata municipal corporation, next year.

A Congress councillor also joined the BJP in New Delhi, on Monday.

Sunil Singh is the brother-in-law of Arjun Singh, the newly elected BJP MP from Barrackpore Lok Sabha constituency, who switched over from the TMC to the BJP just ahead of the recent Lok Sabha polls.

The MLA and the councillors — whose defection will help BJP takeover the Garulia civic body — joined BJP in the presence of the party’s national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, national executive member Mukul Roy, Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh, and Arjun Singh.

“TMC leaders and workers are joining BJP because Mamata Ji is fanning violence in Bengal,” Vijayvargiya said.

Mamata Banerjee is the leader of the TMC, and the chief minister of West Bengal.

“With TMC leaders coming to BJP in such large numbers every week Mamata Banerjee’s government will collapse any day. It is only a matter of time,” said Arjun Singh who defeated TMC’s two-time MP Dinesh Trivedi in Barrackpore.

”The BJP leaders intimidated them (TMC councillors) to join the party,” Nirmal Ghosh, TMC observer for North 24 Parganas district, said.

The first mass defection to BJP took place on May 28 when three MLAs (two from the TMC and one from the Left), 56 civic body councillors and three rural body representatives switched camps.

The three MLAs who joined the BJP are Bijpur’s TMC MLA Subhranshu Roy, who is also the son of Mukul Roy, Bishnupur’s Congress-turned-TMC MLA Tusharkanti Bhattacharya and Ahmedabad’s Communist Party of India (Marxist) MLA Debendra Nath Roy.

The defection helped BJP take over Halishahar, Kanchrapara and Naihati municipalities.

On June 4, BJP took control of Bhatpara municipality, the first civic body in Bengal to come under its grip, when 26 councillors in the 35-ward civic body voted for Saurav Singh, nephew of Arjun Singh.

In the Lok Sabha elections, BJP made deep inroads into Bengal for the first time, winning 18 seats, as opposed to the two seats that it won in 2014. The TMC’s seats dipped from 34 to 22.

First Published: Jun 17, 2019 16:59 IST