CPI(M) MP claims Shah invited her to join BJP

CPI(M) MP claims Shah invited her to join BJP

In photo: Jharna Das Baidya. (Image from Aug 2014)

At a time half-a-dozen Opposition MPs have joined BJP and some more are speculated to join, CPI(M) Rajya Sabha MP Jharna Das Baidya has claimed that Union Home Minister Amit Shah extended an invitation to her join the saffron camp but she rebuffed it saying she will fight them even if she is alone.

Baidya, who represents Tripura in the Upper House, had gone to meet Shah in his office in Parliament on July 16 to submit a memorandum on the issue of violence in the run-up to Panchayat polls in her state when Shah allegedly made the comment.

Narrating the sequence of events, the lone MP from Tripura claimed she met Shah at around 7 PM after waiting for about two hours and when it happened, she handed over a “detailed” memorandum to the Home Minister seeking his intervention.

“I don't know whether he was joking or not but he told me that the Communist party is finished. Why are you in that party? You join with us (BJP). I asked why. I met you regarding Tripura problems. I am not meeting you as the president of BJP. I met you as Home Minister of India,” she said.

“I said don't say like this. I am a member of the Communist Party and our party has one member. We will fight against your party,” Baidya, a post-graduate in Bengali, said. Her term ends in April 2022.

The CPI(M) has said that Tripura is witnessing a “massive and widespread attack” on the democratic process. “As a result of this terror campaign, after the last date of withdrawal, over 90 per cent of the seats in the panchayat samitis and gram panchayats have gone uncontested to the BJP,” it said.

At least six Opposition MPs in Rajya Sabha have joined BJP in the last three weeks and there is speculation that a couple of MPs would also join the saffron party soon. Of the six who joined the BJP, four are from TDP and one each from INLD and Samajwadi Party.

The BJP efforts to wean away MPs is seen by the Opposition as the attempts by the saffron party to ensure majority of its own along with allies in Rajya Sabha. At present, BJP has 78 members in 245-member House, which has five vacancies.

Along with allies, the NDA has 115 MPs while BJD (7) and YSR Congress (2) with nine MPs are non-antagonist towards the BJP.

The Opposition believes that the BJP is attempting to cross the majority mark of 123 in Rajya Sabha without the support of BJD and YSR Congress before the ongoing Parliament Session to send a message that it had managed the numbers at the first session of the new government.