Blow for Mamata as 2 TMC MPs quit, 2 more may join BJP | India News

KOLKATA/NEW DELHI: Ahead of the general elections, Trinamool Congress suffered its first-ever defection in the Lok Sabha with its Bishnupur MP Soumitra Khan joining the rival BJP on Wednesday. Bolpur MP Anupam Hazra is expected to follow suit.

A BJP leader said apart from Khan, “at least six TMC MPs are in touch with us”. Even as the Bengal BJP refused to name them, speculation is rife that Arpita Ghosh and Satabdi Roy, too, could desert TMC. Sources said the disgruntled TMC MPs are known to be close to the party’s former No. 2 Mukul Roy, who had joined BJP.

The rumblings within the TMC come 10 days before CM Mamata Banerjee’s January 19 Kolkata rally aimed at giving shape to an anti-BJP platform. TMC was quick to expel both Khan and Hazra for anti-party activities, while accusing them of corruption. The buzz about both the MPs joining BJP had been on since the monsoon session last year as it was clear TMC would not re-nominate them in the Lok Sabha polls.

Training his guns on the CM, Soumitra Khan said TMC was no longer a party but a “private company” of Mamata and her nephew Abhishek. “A syndicate raj and police raj are going on hand-in-hand in Bengal,” he said.

Abhishek, an observer for Bankura, said, “Soumitra was a ‘jote’ (Trinamool and Congress) candidate in 2011, switched to Trinamool and became an MP in 2014. He should provide accounts for MPLAD expenditure. He’s accountable to people.”

Khan’s decision to quit TMC came soon after Bankura SDPO Sukomal Das registered a case against him following complaints of corruption in recruitment of primary teachers. A day earlier, the MP’s assistant Susanta Dan was arrested.

The Bishnupur MP had met BJP president Amit Shah before joining the party in the presence of Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan. Khan has been assured a BJP ticket in the general elections, BJP sources said. Khan’s entry will give a fillip to BJP in Bankura, where the party had won 234 gram panchayat seats.

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