Three West Bengal legislators, two of them of Trinamool Congress (TMC), on Tuesday joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as the saffron party works to consolidate its position in the state following its impressive show there in recent parliamentary elections. At least 50 TMC councillors also jumped ship to the BJP.
One of the three legislators is Subhrangshu Roy who is the son of BJP leader Mukul Roy who switched over from Trinamool a couple of years ago. Subhrashanshu was suspended by the Trinamool last week for his "anti-party" activities after the general election results were announced. Trinamool’s Tusharkanti Bhattacharya and CPI(M)'s Debendra Nath Roy were the other MLAs from the state who joined the BJP along with several councillors, BJP leader Anil Baluni said.
Mukul Roy is seen to be instrumental in engineering the defection in the Trinamool and CPI(M) and their joining the BJP. "Three MLAs and 50-60 Councillors are joining BJP today. Such joinings will continue in future also," Kailash Vijayvargiya, BJP National General Secretary said. TMC MLAs Subhranshu Roy, Tusharkanti Bhattacharjee and CPM MLA Devendra Roy joined BJP today in Delhi. Subhranshu is the son of BJP leader Mukul Roy and had been suspended by TMC recently.
The ex-TMC leaders chanted 'Jai Shri Ram' and 'Bharat Mata ki Jai' soon after joining BJP. Mukul Roy, addressing the press conference where the ex-TMC leaders formally joined BJP, said that it was first of seven such events. "Just like seven phased Lok Sabha elections, there will be seven phases of TMC defectors joining BJP," Mukul Roy said.
On the accusations on horse trading by BJP, Mukul Roy said, "Horse trading is being done by TMC. After panchayat polls, she tried to buy over or threaten our people into jumping ship." "In the West Bengal assembly election in 2021, TMC will not evn get the Opposition party position," Mukul Roy claimed. This comes in wake of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) earning a massive mandate in West Bengal in the Lok Sabha elections. While BJP won 18 of total 42 seats in West Bengal, TMC bagged only 22.
The three TMC legislators, including suspended leader Subhrangshu Roy, left for Delhi on Monday evening with 50 councillors from Kanchrapara, Halishahar and Naihati municipalities of North 24 Paraganas. The BJP is expected to stake a claim for two municipalities once councillors switch the party. Mukul Roy, who left the TMC in 2017 after differences with party supremo Mamata Banerjee, is accompanying the leaders to Delhi.
"We are not upset with Mamata but the recent victory of BJP in Bengal has influenced us to join the party. People like the saffron party as it is working for them," Ruby Chatterjee, TMC councillor from Garifa in West Bengal. Suspended TMC MLA Subhrangshu Roy had earlier said he would join the BJP within a few days, a "new innings" in which he will be able to "breathe freely".
The TMC had suspended Subhrangshu Roy for six years for anti-party comments. After his suspension by the TMC, Subhrangshu had said he intended to follow in the footsteps of his father and join the BJP. Mukul Roy had earlier hinted that he was in touch with 143 rebels in Trinamool Congress.