‘Wait and watch’: TMC says more leaders to join after Babul Supriyo’s entry
Former Union minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Babul Supriyo, who announced his retirement from “politics” only two months before, joined Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Saturday, saying that he got a “huge opportunity” in the West Bengal’s ruling dispensation.
Following his entry, TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh and the party’s national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee said that the shift is only the beginning of a pattern and that more such moves are in the pipeline.
“Many BJP leaders are in communication with [the] TMC leadership. They are not satisfied with the BJP. Babul Supriyo joined today, another wants to join tomorrow,” Ghosh told news agency ANI, adding that the process will continue.
“Wait and watch,” he said.
Kunal further stated that the BJP is only a “gas balloon” with no ideologies and that no one can withstand their “anti-people policies” – which is why people are bidding adieu.
Echoing Kunal’s views, TMC Rajya Sabha MP Sukhendu Sekhar Roy said that significant leaders from various political parties are set to join the TMC. Commenting on Supriyo’s entry, he noted that it’s a “welcome move” as he is a well-known face not only in West Bengal but also outside the state.
Earlier in the day, Supriyo said that his decision to make the move took place in the last four days “to be exact.” The former Union minister of state for environment, who is a sitting MP from Asansol town, said that he spoke to TMC leader Derek O’Brien regarding his daughter’s school and later to TMC supremo and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and Abhishek.
“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 (Banerjee) on Monday. I didn’t expect this development. It was an unexpected opportunity,” Supriyo told Hindustan Times.
Tensions first arose pertaining to Supriyo’s stand in the BJP leadership after he took to Facebook in July to write a post related to him being “asked” to resign following the Union cabinet reshuffle – where Supriyo saw himself as no longer the minister. Although the former BJP leader had later clarified any controversy regarding his choice of word, BJP’s West Bengal president Dilip Ghosh took a jibe at the singer-turned-politician.
“That is how a party functions; you need to have faith in the due process. If he were to be fired instead, would that have made things any better?” Ghosh said, adding that none of the 12 ministers who resigned made such comments about the saffron party.
Meanwhile, TMC turncoat and West Bengal’s Leader of Opposition from the BJP, Suvendu Adhikari said that Supriyo should have informed the state opposition party before deciding to depart. Hailing Supriyo as his “good friend,” Adhikari said that the former’s exit is “not a loss for BJP.”
“He is not a mass leader and not a good political organiser. However, personally, he is my good friend,” Adhikari, who himself left TMC after more than two decades being its member, told ANI.
Supriyo’s entry to TMC remains a shock since he showed his support for BJP’s Bhabanipur bypoll candidate Priyanka Tibrewal only a few weeks before and was also picked up as the saffron party’s top 20 start campaigners for the upcoming polls. Moreover, after the TMC registered a landslide victory in the West Bengal Assembly elections this year, Supriyo had taken to Facebook to unleash a rant on the people of the state for their voting choice – even saying that the citizens made a “historic mistake” by not giving the BJP a chance and bringing back “the cruel lady (Mamata Banerjee) to power.”
However, he deleted the post later.