CPM MLA joins Trinamool in Bengal, 40th Opposition legislator to switch since 2011
Two-time CPI(M) legislator Abdur Razzak Mandal joined the Trinamool Congress on Thursday morning, partially offsetting the embarrassment of the West Bengal ruling party that expelled two of its Lok Sabha lawmakers on January 9, one of them after he joined the BJP in Delhi.
Incidentally, the 60-year-old became the 40th MLA to switch to Mamata Banerjee’s party from opposition outfits since she came in power in May 2011.
A school teacher by profession, Mandal was elected twice from Jalangi assembly constituency in Murshidabad district in 2011 and 2016 on a Communist Party of India (Marxist) ticket even during the strong anti-Left sentiment in the state.
In the last assembly polls, the Left Front got four seats in the district. Mandal is the second Left Front MLA of Murshidabad who switched to the Trinamool. In December, CPI(M) MLA of Nabagram constituency Kanai Mondal joined the ruling party.
With Mandal in their fold, the Trinamool Congress can claim the support of 232 MLAs in a House of 294. The party won 211 seats in the 2016 assembly elections.
“Razzak saheb has expressed his desire to attend chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s rally in Kolkata on January 19. He also told me of his desire to develop Jalangi constituency that is adjacent to the Indo-Bangladesh border,” said state transport minister Subhendu Adhikari, also the Murshidabad district observer of Trinamool Congress.
“With consent from Mamata Banerjee, we have inducted the Jalangi MLA in Trinamool Congress,” Adhikari said.
Trinamool Congress won only four of the total 22 seats in Murshidabad district in the 2016 assembly election. But in the past two years, as many as six Congress MLAs of the district defected to Mamata Banerjee’s party as well.
On Thursday, soon after Razzak’s defection, he was made chairman of the TMC’s Jalangi constituency area committee. “Trinamool’s strength will rise in the district with Razzak saheb’s entry. He has vowed to give us a lead of more than 50,000 votes to the Trinamool candidate in the Lok Sabha election from Jalangi,” said Adhikari.
Jalangi is a part of Murshidabad Lok Sabha constituency that was won by CPI(M)’s Badarudozza Khan, who secured 33.33% votes. The Trinamool candidate was in the third position with 22.44% votes.
The CPI(M) said Mandal’s decision to quit the party was selfish.
“Razzak has defected to the Trinamool for his personal gain, and not for the interest of the people. He was expelled from the party on Wednesday evening, well ahead of his defection,” claimed CPI(M)’s district secretary Mriganka Bhattacharya.