New Delhi: BJP’s status in the West Bengal gets more firm with former Railway Minister and Trinamool Congress MP Dinesh Trivedi’s cross over to BJP, which make the list of such defection, over the past many months, long. The sudden cross over, on Saturday, comes weeks ahead of the West Bengal Assembly polls, the run up to which is already seeing a powerful combat of attrition between the two political parties.
The 70-year-old rejoiced his switch over saying, “This was the golden moment I had been waiting for” while joining the BJP at party headquarters in New Delhi in the presence of Union Minister Piyush Goyal.
He said, “Bengal has immense potential but it is unfortunate that people are left with no other options but to migrate to other cities for jobs. The state is full of corruption and gundaraj. Today, the people of Bengal are happy that a parivartan (change) is going to take place under BJP.”
Trivedi isn’t the latest in the long list of defections because Jatu Lahiri, another important TMC leader, too joined the BJP after having a long meeting with BJP vice-president Mukul Roy in Kolkata.
Lahiri, the current MLA from the Shibpur Assembly constituency, however, was not given the ticket to contest the upcoming poll. “Till my last breath I will work for the BJP. I have not joined BJP to get the ticket,” Lahiri said.
Meanwhile, Mr Dinesh’s move was welcomed by BJP chief JP Nadda, who said he was the “right person in the wrong party. Now he is in right party”.
Trivedi had resigned from his Raya Sabha and Trinamool membership position, on February 12 last month, citing “political violence” in the state. The 70-year-old, who served as Railway Minister in 2012, said he cannot sit as a “mute spectator” in the Parliament and will continue to work for the people of West Bengal. The party had sent him to the Upper House after he lost the Lok Sabha election in 2019.
“In Bengal, we talk about icons and their ideals but what we see is contrary. The (TMC) model of violence and corruption is not what Bengal stands for. This model will take Bengal to dark days. The state has so much potential and we can’t just let it go waste,” Mr Trivedi had said.
The TMC, however, said that Trivedi’s departure will not affect the party and it will surely win the upcoming polls in the state. Since December, several TMC leaders, including Suvendu Adhikari and Rajib Banerjee, have joined the BJP. The party’s former Rajya Sabha MP, actor Mithun Chakraborty is also expected to share the stage with Prime Minister Narendra Modi tomorrow at a Kolkata rally. Whether he will join the party or campaign for it is still unclear though.
Meanwhile, on Friday West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee released a list of 291 candidates and announced that she will contest from Nandigram seat. The names included 50 women, 42 Muslim candidates.
The BJP is likely to release its first list of candidates for West Bengal on March 7 after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Brigade Rally in Kolkata.
The state election will be held across eight phases from March 27 to April 29, the results of which will be declared on May 2.