TMC MLA's meeting with Rajbangshi leader close to BJP triggers speculation

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Cooch Behar (WB), Jul 12 (PTI) An apparent chance meeting between a Trinamool Congress MLA and Greater Cooch Behar People's Association (GCPA) leader Ananta Maharaj, who has a considerable following in the Rajbangshi community, at a temple on Monday fuelled speculations of the latter's future political move.

Maharaj is considered close to the BJP and supported it in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and the assembly polls in West Bengal held this year. The party won six of the seven assembly seats in the district.

The TMC and the BJP, however, said that there was nothing political about the meeting.

'Greater Cooch Behar People's Association leader Ananta Maharaj had come to offer puja at Gosanimari Kamateswari temple and I had also gone there. We exchanged pleasantries,' said TMC MLA Jagadish Chandra Barma Basunia said.

The MLA of Sitai in Cooch Behar district said that Maharaj requested him for constructing a sitting place for the devotees at the temple, to which he agreed.

'We had no political discussion,' Basunia said.

Maharaj was not available for comment.

BJP Cooch Behar district president Malati Rava said that it was a chance meeting as both had gone to offer obeisance to the deity at the temple and that there was nothing more to it.

'Ananta Maharaj was with us and will remain so,' she asserted.

The GCPA was agitating for a separate Greater Cooch Behar state by carving out portions of West Bengal and Assam.

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