Which party is in West Bengal

Kolkata: In wake of the massive exodus of Members of Legislative Assemblies and Councillors from her party to the Bharatiya Janata Party over the past couple of months, West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said she does not want “thieves” in her party.

“The TMC is not a weak party. If our MLAs want to leave, they can. I do not care if 15-20 Councillors quit the party by accepting cash. We don’t want thieves in TMC. If one person leaves, I will prepare 500 more,” she said in Kolkata during an event, news agency ANI reported.

Her statement comes a day after TMC legislator Sunil Singh joined the BJP along with his associates in presence of BJP’s West Bengal in-charge Kailash Vijayvargiya and veteran TMC-turned-BJP politician Mukul Roy in New Delhi. As many as 12 TMC Councillors also joined the BJP on Monday.

Singh is the third TMC leader to quit the party and shift allegiances to BJP after the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The BJP made massive inroads into West Bengal, upping their early tally of 2 to 18 this year. Seeing the Modi wave turning around BJP’s fortunes in Bengal for the first time since Independence, several opposition leaders in the state chose to switch sides hoping for greener pastures.

Last month, around 50-60 TMC councillors and 2 MLAs (along with one CPM MLA) joined the BJP in the presence of Vijayvargiya dealing a massive blow to Mamata’s hopes to salvage her state from the saffron party’s influence.

Following the debacle, Mamata roped in political strategist Prashant Kishor’s organisation to turn tides in her favour as Bengal goes to Assembly polls in 2021. The Trinamool Congress is at present governing the eastern Indian state for a consecutive second term after over three decades of CPM’s rule.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.  |  Photo Credit: ANI