Hours after former West Bengal minister Rajib Banerjee quit the Trinamool Congress, he joined the BJP after a meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi.
"Former TMC leaders Rajib Banerjee, Baishali Dalmiya, Prabir Ghoshal, Rathin Chakraborti and Rudranil Ghosh joined BJP today in New Delhi. I am sure their induction will further strengthen BJP’s fight for Sonar Bangla," Shah said in posts on social media.
Shah had earlier in the day called up Banerjee and said he was a "fighter". Banerjee, Dalmiya, Prabir Ghoshal, Partha Sarathi Chatterjee and Rathin Chakraborti on Saturday night arrived in Delhi to meet Shah, along with BJP's Mukul Roy and Kailash Vijayvargiya.
BJP in-charge of West Bengal Vijayvargiya had also spoken to Banerjee, a former forest minister who represented the Domjur assembly seat. Banerjee has already resigned as an MLA.
Shah had earlier shared with Banerjee the BJP's roadmap for development in Bengal.
"No state can flourish without the support of the Centre, Bengal needs the Centre's support for development," said Banerjee in Delhi.
"I have asked two things from HM Amit Shah once BJP comes to power. The law and order situation has to be improved... And we need a special economic package for Bengal's industrialization and employment to address the aspirations of Bengal's youth," he added.
On January 22, Rajib Banerjee resigned from Mamata Banerjee’s cabinet. He claimed that he wanted to quit the party in 2018 after he was removed from the state irrigation department without any consultation. Addressing the media in front of the Raj Bhawan, a teary-eyed Banerjee had said, “I never thought that one day I have to take this decision. I was hurt when Mamata Banerjee removed me from the irrigation department without any consultation.”
“The Chief Minister has every right to reshuffle her cabinet. But I was expecting a minimum curtsy from her side. She should have informed me before taking the decision. I was in the dark about the reshuffle despite doing my best to serve the department. I came to know about the reshuffle through a television channel,” Banerjee said.
Rajib Banerjee is the latest TMC leader to leave the party. In the run-up to the Assembly elections in the state, several TMC heavyweights, like Suvendu Adhikary, have left the Mamata Banerjee-led party and joined the BJP. Former cricketer and minister Laxmi Ratan Shukla, TMC MP Sunil Mondal and TMC MLA Arindam Bhattacharya have also left the TMC; barring Shukla, the other two have joined the BJP.
Mamata Banerjee has accused the BJP of poaching her party’s leaders and said that despite the desertions, the TMC will form the government in Bengal as the people of the state are with her.