Other States

BJP left red-faced as 8 councillors return to Trinamool

TMC blames Mukul Roy, Arjun Singh for ‘engineering defections’

Eight councillors of Halisahar Municipality, who had recently switched allegiance from the Trinamool Congress and joined the BJP in New Delhi, returned to the TMC on Tuesday, leaving the saffron party red-faced.

Thirteen councillors of the 23-member municipality located in North 24 Parganas district joined the BJP on May 28, five days after the results of the Lok Sabha election were declared. On Tuesday, eight of those 13, led by Ansuman Roy, the chairperson of the civic body, came to the West Bengal Assembly and met Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to announce their return to the TMC.

State’s Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim held a press conference in the presence of the councillors and said that a section of the BJP leadership was in a hurry to “engineer defections within the TMC so that they could score brownie points with the party leadership”. “The BJP had threatened these councillors and forced them to switch sides, but they cannot take away the love for Mamata Banerjee from their hearts,” Mr. Hakim said. The Trinamool leader blamed BJP leader Mukul Roy and MP Arjun Singh for “engineering the defections”.

Screening process

When contacted, BJP general secretary in-charge of West Bengal Kailash Vijayvargiya said he was not aware of the development. He said that a “screening process” was in place for a background check on TMC leaders joining the BJP. Indiscriminate induction of dissenters from the TMC into the BJP has been one of the issues that the State BJP has been grappling with over the past few months. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has also raised its objections to such inductions.

On July 7, at a meeting of senior BJP functionaries in West Bengal, Mr. Vijayvargiya had said that several TMC leaders were in touch with the BJP but the party will not take anyone who is accused of financial wrongdoings.

With the “cut money” controversy raging across the State, the situation is becoming intriguing.“The ‘cut money’ movement is a people’s movement and the BJP is giving support to it,” Mr. Vijayvargiya told The Hindu. Elaborating on the process of screening of TMC leaders joining the BJP, State BJP vice-president Joyprakash Majumdar said the idea is to prevent “opportunist political elements” from joining the party. “We are trying to have the structure of screening from mandal level to district level and then at the State level,” he said.

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 12:35:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/bjp-left-red-faced-as-8-councillors-return-to-trinamool/article28337235.ece

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