BJP in West Bengal loses two MLAs to Trinamool in two consecutive days

Published : August 31, 2021 22:05 IST

Trinamool Congress Lok Sabha MP Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar and West Bengal Commerce and Industry Minister Partha Chatterjee (centre) hand over party flag to BJP MLA Biswajit Das after he joined the Trinamool Congress, in Kolkata on August 31. Photo: PTI

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) post-election woes in West Bengal continued as two of its legislators joined the ruling Trinamool Congress in the past two days. After Tanmoy Ghosh, BJP’s MLA from Bishnupur joined the ruling party on August 30, the very next day, Biswajit Das, the MLA from Bagda, left the saffron party to return to his old party, the Trinamool Congress. While Biswajit Das had switched from Trinamool to the BJP in June 2019, soon after the BJP’s success in the Lok Sabha election, Tanmoy had defected in March 2020.

Biswajit Das, a two-time MLA, was the third BJP legislator to join the Trinamool after the BJP’s humiliating defeat in the 2021 Assembly election, in which the Trinamool won 213 out of the total 294 seats. Mukul Roy, national vice president of the BJP and MLA from Krishnanagar Uttar, was the first to leave on June 11, barely a month after the results were declared. The BJP, which could win only 77 seats, is now reduced to 72, as two of its Lok Sabha MPs, Jagannath Sarkar and Nisith Pramanik, who had contested and won from the Santipur and Dinhata Assembly constituencies respectively, had resigned from the Assembly to continue as MPs, as per the directions of the party leadership.

Addressing a press conference on August 31, after rejoining his old party, Biswajit Das claimed he was “uncomfortable” in the BJP from the very start, and had wanted to return to Trinamool much earlier. “I had left due to some misunderstandings that had taken place, which should not have… The way West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and the party all-India general secretary Abhishek Banerjee are working, I have been inspired to come back home,” he said.

The BJP’s own pre-poll political strategy appears to be backfiring. Prior to the election the saffron party engineered a large number of high-profile defections in the hope that it would lead to the collapse of Trinamool’s party structure and facilitate a victory in the election. However, after the election defeat, many of the ex-Trinamool leaders it had brought into its fold have been blatantly indicating that they wish to return to their old party.