Downplaying the desertion of three MLAs and dozens of councillors from three municipalities in West Bengal, the Trinamool Congress leadership on Tuesday described it as a “temporary phase in politics”. Trinamool leaders addressed a press conference in Kolkata.
Among the MLAs who joined the BJP on Tuesday were BJP leader Mukul Roy’s son Subhrangshu, Roy elected from Bijpur on Trinamool ticket; Tushar Kanti Bhattacharya from Bishnupur, who won the polls in 2016 on Congress ticket and later switched sides to Trinamool; and Debendra Roy, an MLA of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) from Hemtabad. All MLAs are from south Bengal.
In the Kancharapra, Halishar and Naihati municipalities in North 24 Paraganas district in south Bengal, where BJP leader Mukul Roy grew up and started his political career, the BJP is now in the driver’s seat.
Meanwhile, a number of councillors in the Bhatpara municipality joined the BJP, making the balance tilt in favour of the saffron party. Arjun Singh, the Trinamool leader who joined the BJP shortly before the Lok Sabha election, orchestrated the desertion in Bhatpara, where he was the municipal chairperson till recently. Elections to the civic bodies in the State are scheduled for 2020, a year before the State goes to the polls.
“This is no crisis at all. I refuse to call it a crisis when some opportunists have switched sides. We are keeping an eye on the situation,” Tapas Roy, Trinamool leader and chief whip in the Assembly, said. Trinamool leaders, including former Minister Madan Mitra and North 24 Parganas district party president Jyotipriya Mullick, attended the press conference and said a number of party offices of the district have been occupied by the BJP.
“People of West Bengal are firmly with Mamata Banerjee. Today, only 2 of our 221 MLAs went to the BJP. One of them is the son [of Mukul Roy], a step in the right direction for BJP to encourage dynastic politics,” a tweet from the official Twitter handle of the Trinamool said.
Meanwhile, stray incidents of post-poll violence were reported in the State. At Canning in State’s South 24 Paraganas district, a Trinamool activist was attacked allegedly by BJP workers. State Minister Rabindranath Ghosh was heckled by BJP supporters in Cooch Behar. A few days ago, Forest Minister Bijoy Krishna Barman’s vehicle was attacked in north Bengal.