BJP gets TMC MLA No. 4, calls it ‘earthquake’ in Bengal politics

TMC leaders (all standing behind) after joining the BJP in New Delhi, Monday. (Express photo: Prem Nath Pandey)

The BJP Monday took control of the South Dinajpur Zilla Parishad from the TMC, its first in the state, after majority of its members, besides an MLA, switched sides.

In a jolt to the TMC in South Dinajpur district, veteran leader Biplab Mitra also joined the BJP.

Mitra who was considered to be one of the architects of the Trinamool Congress in the district in north Bengal, was shunted out as the party s district president after the Lok Sabha polls.

Besides Mitra and 10 of the 18 members of South Dinajpur Zilla Parishad, TMC MLA Wilson Champramary joined the BJP at its headquarters in Delhi.

Champramary who represents the Kalchini constituency in Alipurduar district joined the BJP in the presence of its senior leaders, including Mukul Roy, state president Dilip Ghosh and its national general secretary Kailash Vijarvargiya, who is in charge of its state affairs.

Champamary is the fourth TMC MLA to have joined the BJP recently. Champamari is a two-term member of the West Bengal Legislative Assembly. In 2011, he won from Kalchini Assembly seat as an independent candidate supported by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha. Later, he joined the TMC and won from the same seat in 2016 Assembly polls when he defeated Bishal Lama of BJP by a margin of 1,511 votes.

Roy described the joining as an earthquake , saying almost all members of the Zilla Parishad, including its chairperson Lipika Roy, are in the BJP now. A number of TMC leaders have joined the BJP after it emerged as a strong challenger to the state s ruling party by winning 18 Lok Sabha seats of the total 42 there.

According to West Bengal BJP, so far, seven MLAs from different parties have joined BJP after Lok Sabha polls. They are Congress s Dulal Chandra Bar and Tushar Kanti Bhattacharya, CPM s Debendra Roy and TMC s Champramary, Subrangshu Roy, Sunil Singh and Biswajit Das.

Mitra said the TMC was functioning in an autocratic way and has lost its contact with the people.

The TMC has become a party of arrogant autocratic leaders. I had built the party in the district from scratch from 1998 but I was made to feel like an outsider in the party. My hard work of so many years was not respected, Roy said.

He hinted that several other TMC leaders from north Bengal are also likely to join the BJP soon.

The BJP had won six of the seven Lok Sabha seats in north Bengal this time, including the Balurghat constituency in South Dinajpur district.

Reacting to the development, senior TMC leader Firhad Hakim said those who have joined the BJP have no ideological base. They don t follow any ideology. They are just opportunists and jumping ships. The people are seeing everything. They are either joining BJP under pressure or for money, Hakim said.

(Inputs from PTI)