Saumitra Khan, Member of Parliament from the Trinamool Congress, has formally joined the Bharatiya Janata Party as per reports.
TMC Lok Sabha MP Soumitra Khan joins Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Delhi. Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and West Bengal BJP leader Mukul Roy also present.
(Pic: ANI) pic.twitter.com/UhZIjL7Mx2
— Times of India (@timesofindia) January 9, 2019
The senior TMC leader’s move to join the BJP will be a jolt to Mamata Banerjee ahead of the Lok Sabha elections later this year. The BJP has its eye set on Bengal and is looking to make huge gains in the Mamata’s own backyard.
Even more of a concern for the TMC is the fact that BJP leader and former TMC leader Mukul Roy has claimed that at least 5 more MPs were in touch with him and wanted to join the BJP ahead of the general elections.
There have been reports earlier of TMC cadres joining the saffron party in huge numbers. The BJP was also reported to be making gains in erstwhile Maoist bastions and tribal areas in the state. BJP President Amit Shah had also predicted that the party will win 22 Lok Sabha seats in Bengal.
Mamata Banerjee certainly has been feeling the pressure and has been forced to play the BJP’s game. In 2018, a year after the party had accused the BJP of fueling communal divide through its celebration of Ram Navami, the TMC too announced that it will be celebrating the festival. The RSS claimed it as a moral victory.
Predictably enough, the rise of BJP in the state has unleashed a spell of political violence in the state which peaked during the Panchayat elections. However, despite all that, it appears the BJP continues to rise and rise in the erstwhile communist state. The TMC’s MP from Bishnupur joining the BJP is further proof that Mamata’s attempts at thwarting the BJP haven’t been very successful thus far.