BJP struggles to keep its flock togather in West Bengal as TMC defectors seek re-entry


Kolkatta: The Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) is seemingly struggling to keep its flock together in West Bengal as many Trinamool Congress turncoats who had joined the saffron party ahead of the assembly elections are seeking a re-entry into the Mamata Banerjee-led ruling party, reports a financial news portal.

Mamta Banerjee’s TMC stormed to power for the third consecutive term, winning 213 of the 292 seats that went to polls. The BJP bagged 77 seats in the high-stakes state election.

On May 23, two former TMC leaders, Sarala Murmu and Amal Acharjee, said they wished to leave the BJP and rejoin the Bengal’s ruling party.

Murmu had switched to BJP when she was denied ticket from the Maldaha constituency. She was nominated from Habibpur seat in Malda by the TMC. Similarly, Acharjee, a former TMC MLA, had joined the BJP after he was denied a ticket by his party.

“Didi (Mamata Banerjee) had given a message to all those who left the party out of anger or hurt that they can return to her party. I am responding to that call. If she accepts us back then, most certainly, we will stay with Didi and work with Didi,” Murmu said on May 23.

The West Bengal chief minister had hinted at accommodating defectors who wanted to return to the TMC fold days after her party’s landslide victory on May 2.

On May 22, another turncoat and four-time TMC legislator Sonali Guha, who had joined BJP before the Bengal polls, put out a public apology on Twitter addressed to Banerjee and sought re-entry into the party.

Earlier, former footballer and TMC MLA Dipendu Biswas quit the BJP in protest against the arrest of ruling party leaders and a former state minister in connection with the Narada sting tapes case, expressing his hope to be back in his previous party. Biswas, like many other, had quit the TMC after being denied ticket.

BJP had used defections as a political tool in the run-up to Bengal polls as many TMC leaders had joined the saffron party. But most of the 30 former TMC MLAs who were given tickets by the BJP lost the election.

Recently, central security was accorded to BJP MLAs from Bengal but a few refused to accept it.

“I don’t think I need central security at this point of time. There is no threat for me in the town I grew up in. Moreover, I use a two-wheeler for commuting and it is not possible for me to house central security or provide vehicles for them,” BJP MLA from Siliguri Sankar Ghosh told The Hindu.

Reports suggest that BJP MLAs are refusing a central security cover due to the fear of surveillance.

Among the heavyweight defectors, Banerjee’s aide and former senior TMC leader Suvendu Adhikari was appointed the Leader of Opposition in the West Bengal Legislative Assembly. However, Mukul Roy was reportedly conspicuous by his absence at BJP meetings.

The TMC said it was yet to take a decision on whether to let defectors rejoin the party. “The senior leadership of the party is busy with the COVID-19 management in West Bengal and have not thought about this,” TMC leader Kunal Ghosh told reporters.