What can be termed as another jolt for the Mamata Banerjee led Trinamool Congress (TMC), another senior party legislator Manirul Islam on Wednesday joined the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) along with three party leaders Gadadhar Hazra, Mohd Asif Iqbal and Nimai Das in presence of Kailash Vijayvargiya and Mukul Roy.
Islam is the third legislator to desert the ruling party in West Bengal after the reverses in the Lok Sabha polls. The BJP projected the decision of TMC's Muslim MLA to join the party as a vindication of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's slogan of "Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwash" (together with all, development for all, trust of all).
PM Modi gave the slogan in his first address to MP's of BJP-led NDA after the Lok Sabha poll results were declared. He had asked them to win over the trust of minorities with their work.
Trinamool Congress MLA Manirul Islam joins Bharatiya Janata Party in Delhi. TMC's Gadadhar Hazra, Mohd Asif Iqbal and Nimai Das also join BJP. pic.twitter.com/Y2rOILuZ2f— ANI (@ANI) May 29, 2019
Earlier there were reports that six legislators of the Trinamool Congress are likely to switch sides in a few days along with a few former MPs of the party. "Six TMC MLAs are likely to join us soon. Many more councillors of various municipalities are also in line. Just wait and watch," a senior BJP leader said on condition of anonymity.
The leader said not just MLAs, a few former MPs of Trinamool Congress, are also in touch with the party and have expressed their desire to join BJP in its "fight against misrule of the TMC". Of the six MLAs, four are from south Bengal and two from north Bengal, he said.
Three MLAs, including BJP leader Mukul Roy's son Subhrangshu Roy, and over 50 councillors, most of them from the Trinamool Congress, joined the saffron party on Tuesday as it works to consolidate its position in the state following impressive show in the Lok Sabha polls. In a stunning performance, the BJP won 18 Lok Sabha seats in the state, only four less than TMC's 22. The MLAs who joined the BJP at a press conference are Congress's Tusharkanti Bhattacharya and CPI(M)'s Debendra Nath Roy, besides Roy who was suspended from the TMC for "anti-party" activities after the election results were announced.
The Trinamool Congress, however, tried to downplay the development. "One suspended MLA of Trinamool joined BJP yesterday. The others were from Congress and CPI(M). The number of councillors is 6. That too they were forced at gunpoint to do so," the TMC said in a tweet. The Trinamool Congress leadership Tuesday had accused the BJP of indulging in horse-trading, an allegation denied by the BJP. "The allegation is completely baseless.
If someone wants to join BJP and fight against TMC's misrule, how can we stop it. And TMC leaders should be the last person to talk about horse trading, when TMC poached on Congress and CPI(M) MLAs in last few years, what was that? Is it not horse trading?" BJP leader Mukul Roy said.