As Bengal assembly elections are drawing closer, trouble seems to be brewing for chief minister Mamata Banerjee amid Bharatiya Janata Party's ambition to paint state saffron. After some of the top Trinamool Congress ministers and leaders joined the BJP, two MPs and three MLAs from South 24 Parganas have renewed speculations after they went missing from Banerjee's meet in Pailan.
Lawmakers Mimi Chakraborty and Pratima Mondal and MLAs Jeevan Mukherjee, Debashree Roy and Manturam Pakhira were absent from the meeting on Thursday, sources said. This comes even as the BJP recently decided to put a stop on "mass joinings" of leaders from the TMC, with party's national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya saying that it "doesn't want to become the B team of the ruling party".
"We don't want the BJP to turn into the B team of the Trinamool. We don’t want Trinamool leaders who do not have a clean image or are involved in illegal activities to join our party. Therefore, we do not want to conduct mass joinings anymore. From now on, there will be selective joinings after scrutiny," Vijayvargiya had said.
Recently, Diamond Harbour MLA Dipak Haldar, former ministers Suvendu Adhikari and Rajib Banerjee, 35-year-old Tollywood actor Yash Dasgupta, Hiran Chatterjee, veteran Papiya Adhikari and more than half a dozen actors joined the BJP. Two-time TMC legislator Chiranjit Chakraborty had also threatened Banerjee in a letter to quit politics if the party decided not to field him for the assembly polls. Elections to the 294-member West Bengal assembly are likely to be held in April-May.
Union home minister Amit Shah, who is on a two-day Bengal tour, will pay tributes to martyrs from the state at the national library in Kolkata and attend a media conclave in the city on Friday.
The BJP and ruling Trinamool Congress, headed by CM Banerjee, are spearheading intense election campaign in West Bengal with the saffron party deploying its enviable political machinery to capture power in the state which it has never ruled.
Several Union ministers, MPs and other leaders recognised for their organisational and poll management skills have been roped in by the saffron party to drive its campaign in the state, with special attention on the seats which it considers winnable.