Bengal BJP youth front chief’s wife joins TMC, husband wants divorce
Saumitra Khan is a former TMC leader who joined the BJP in January 2019. He was the TMC’s Lok Sabha member from Bishnupur in Bankura district. He retained the seat by contesting for the BJP and was made president of the state Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) about three months ago.
Sujata Mondal Khan, wife of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Bengal youth front president Saumitra Khan, joined the Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Monday, saying the state’s main opposition party was filling its ranks with corrupt and ambitious leaders from other parties by promising them high posts.
She alleged that she was not shown any respect in the BJP although she worked hard for it when the party was struggling. The 32-year-old woman did not hold any important post in the BJP.
Her sudden move unfolded an unprecedented family drama in Bengal politics with Khan, 39, quickly calling a media conference and declaring that he will send her divorce papers within 24 hours.
“I am heartbroken to see 10 years of companionship coming to an end in this manner. The Lakshmi (the Hindu goddess of prosperity) of my home has been stolen,” said Khan as tears rolled down his cheeks. “Sujata, I will send you papers for mutual divorce. Please sign them and do not use Khan, my surname, from today,” he said.
“We had some differences during the past few months. She wanted an important position in the BJP but I had no inkling that she was drifting away from me,” said the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) state president and Lok Sabha member.
Saumitra Khan is a former TMC leader who joined the BJP in January 2019. He was the TMC’s Lok Sabha member from Bishnupur in Bankura district. He retained the seat by contesting for the BJP and was made president of the state BJYM about three months ago.
“I observed with pain that people who are corrupt and over-ambitious, those who can be called rotten apples, are being herded into the BJP. There is no place for hardworking people who fight for their principles,” Sujata Khan said at the TMC headquarters in Kolkata about two hours before her husband reacted.
“I married him going against the wishes of my family. I love him and will always do so. I still have the red sindoor (vermilion) on my forehead,” she told the media an hour after her husband talked of divorce. “Can a personal relationship end in divorce because of politics. No TMC leader told me that I have to divorce him to join the ruling party,” she added.
Sujata Khan was welcomed into the TMC by Lok Sabha member Saugata Roy and spokesperson Kunal Ghosh. “Sujata is like my daughter. We are happy to have her in the party,” said Roy.
When she was asked about her husband at the TMC office, Sujata Khan said, “Who knows whether he, too, will not join the TMC in future.”
Her husband ruled out such a possibility. “I am a die-hard soldier of the BJP. In the coming polls I will present all seven segments in my Lok Sabha constituency to Narendra Modi Ji,” he quipped.
Without naming Suvendu Adhikari, the former TMC minister who joined the BJP in presence of Union home minister Amit Shah on Saturday along with six other TMC MLAs and three more from the Left and Congress, Sujata Khan said, “Some people are joining the BJP with the hope of becoming the next chief minister or deputy chief minister. Dozens of people have been promised these posts. Imagine having a dozen deputy chief ministers.”
Her husband, however, refuted this. “This is baseless. Everybody has a role allotted to him or her. Nobody is big or small in the BJP,” he said.
“I am happy to see the TMC going through a cleansing process as the greedy and the bad apples are flocking to the BJP,” said the BJYM state president’s estranged wife. “Only those who realized that they are not going to be fielded by the TMC in the assembly polls in 2021 are leaving,” she said at the TMC headquarters.
Jay Prakash Majumdar, state vice-president of the BJP, said, “Unlike Saumitra Khan, his wife does not have a history in politics. This does not have any political significance for us.”