Ahead of LS polls, trend of defection from TMC to BJP 

Ahead of LS polls, trend of defection from TMC to BJP 

Singh joined the BJP in the presence of party general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya and West Bengal BJP leader Mukul Roy. (Image courtesy ANI/Twitter)

Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, there has been a trend of defection from the Trinamool Congress (TMC) to the BJP with the latest being TMC MLA from Bhatpara constituency Arjun Singh.

With this, two TMC MPs and an MLA have joined the BJP in the last two-and-a-half months.

Singh joined the BJP on at its office in New Delhi on Thursday.

The trend started with former TMC general secretary Mukul Roy joining the BJP in November 2017. Ironically, during his days in the TMC, Roy was the party strategist who engineered defections in the Congress.

Roy is also said to be behind the latest defection of TMC leaders to the BJP.

Although West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee has brushed aside such defections as “insignificant”, the BJP leadership considers them as a strategic success against the TMC.

Arjun Singh is a four-time TMC MLA and is known to be party strongman with significant organisational clout in the Barrackpore Lok Sabha constituency in North 24 Paraganas district. 

Although, while joining the BJP, Singh said that he left the TMC because of Mamata’s questions regarding the casualties from the airstrike on terror camps in Pakistan, TMC sources said that he was miffed with the party leadership for not giving him a ticket for the Lok Sabha elections.

“The chief minister even held a meeting with Singh and TMC candidate from Barrackpore Lok Sabha seat, Dinesh Trivedi, to sort out the issue. But it turned to be futile,” a senior TMC leader said.

Despite Singh’s organisational clout in Barrackpore, it is yet to be seen whether he can sustain his support base after leaving the TMC.

Earlier this month, another TMC MP Anupam Hazra, from Bolpur Lok Sabha seat, joined the BJP.

Hazra has often been an eyesore for the TMC leadership for his squabbling with TMC district president of Birbhum, Anubrata Mondal, and his social media posts that are often critical of the party leadership.

Unlike other TMC defectors, Hazra has not directly attacked the TMC supremo and instead expressed his gratitude to Mamata for bringing him into politics.

Hazra was expelled from TMC along with another MP, Soumitra Khan, who joined the BJP in January this year.

Khan, an MP from Bishnupur Lok Sabha seat, is not known to be an able organiser like Singh.

He has also had the track record of switching parties and had joined the TMC from the Congress ahead of the last Lok Sabha elections.

He had accused TMC supremo and her nephew Abhishek Banerjee of running the party in an autocratic manner and subverting democracy in Bengal.

It remains to be seen how much impact these former TMC leaders can make in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections and whether the BJP gives them tickets.

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