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'What About the Remaining 24?' TMC's Dig at BJP as Party Battles to Keep House in Order Amid Defections

West Bengal: Mamata Banerjee during poll campaign.

West Bengal: Mamata Banerjee during poll campaign.

In a reverse migration of sorts, several TMC leaders who left the party ahead of the assembly elections, sought to return to the party, citing “disenchantment” with the BJP.

The Trinamool Congress, which is witnessing the return of turncoats from the BJP after the stunning electoral victory of Mamata Banerjee in the state polls, on Monday asked Bengal BJP if 50 MLAs had turned up to meet Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, “what happened to the remaining 24”?

Sukhendu Sekhar Ray, Rajya Sabha chief whip, the saffron party should “internally investigate” why all MLAs didn’t go (to Raj Bhavan).” He also questioned the role of the Governor in anti-defection issues. “He (the governor) doesn’t have any role. It is the assembly or Lok Sabha Speaker or the Rajya Sabha chairperson who have a say in this matter. He is going beyond his sphere of work to encourage certain political defectors,” Ray was quoted as saying by Times of India.

In a reverse migration of sorts, several TMC leaders who left the party ahead of the assembly elections, sought to return to the party, citing “disenchantment” with the BJP. The latest to join the ‘Ghar Wapsi’ trend was Mukul Roy who said: “I am happy to be here in my old place. I will explain in detail some other day why I quit the BJP. I believe that under the leadership of Mamata Banerjee, Bengal will be back to its former glory. Today, I can say I will never return to BJP and I will never be with them again.”

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Nearly 50 BJP workers in Birbhum’s Illambazar, who had crossed over from TMC ahead of polls, were on Monday re- inducted into the Mamata Banerjee camp, after they staged a sit-in demanding that they be taken back. The disgruntled BJP workers claimed they regretted the mistake of switching camps.

Meanwhile, TMC’s Lok Sabha leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay called up Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla to press for disqualification of party MPs Sisir Adhikari and Sunil Mandal, who joined the BJP. “We have enough evidence to support our demand of disqualification. They shared the podium with PM Narendra Modi.”

On Sunday, TMC state general secretary Kunal Ghosh had said, “If (LoP) Suvendu Adhikari has thorough knowledge about anti-defection law, he should not try to teach TMC. He should first teach his father Sisir Adhikari because he is a TMC MP and has joined BJP before the election while he was still holding the post.”

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Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has clarified that those who “abused the party and crossed all limits" before joining the BJP ahead of the recently held assembly polls will not be taken back into the TMC.

Hitting out at the former TMC leaders like Suvendu Adhikari, Rajib Banerjee and others, the TMC chief said, “Today, I would like to clarify that those who abused us and indulged in personal attacks, cheap politics will not be taken back in the party. We will take back only those leaders who didn’t cross the laxman rekha and were decent enough towards the TMC.”

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first published:June 15, 2021, 09:38 IST