Trinamool leaders Sonali Guha, Sarala Murmu and Amal Acharya, who defected to the BJP, now want to return to the Trinamool

Published : May 23, 2021 18:15 IST

Sonali Guha (fourth from right) and Sarala Mormu (second from right) during an event to mark their joining the BJP, in Kolkata on March 8 Photo: PTI

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which used defection as one of its main strategies against the ruling Trinamool Congress in the just-concluded Assembly election, is now facing defection from its own camp after its humiliating loss to the Trinamool in the election. The same Trinamool leaders who had joined the saffron party just ahead of the election are pleading to be accepted back into their old party just three weeks after the election.

After former Trinamool heavyweight Sonali Guha wrote to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, requesting her to allow her back into the Trinamool, two former Trinamool leaders, Sarala Murmu and Amal Acharya, have also expressed their wish to leave the BJP and rejoin the party. Sonali Guha, a four-time Trinamool MLA and former deputy speaker in the Assembly, had joined the BJP in a huff after being denied the party ticket. Once known to be one of Mamata’s closest aides, Sonali wrote to Mamata on May 22, saying, “It is with a broken heart that I am saying, that I made a grave mistake by joining another party after being overcome by emotion; but I have never been able to accustom myself to that party. Just as a fish cannot live without water, I cannot live without you. Didi, I am begging your forgiveness; please forgive me.”

A day later, Sarala Murmu, speaking to the media, said, “I realise that it was a mistake on my part to join the BJP. During the election process itself I realised I had made a mistake…. Didi has given a message to all those who left the party out of anger or hurt that they can return to her party. I am responding to that call. If she accepts us back then most certainly we will stay with Didi and work with Didi.” Unlike Sonali Guha, Sarala Murmu was given the ticket to contest from Habibpur, but that did not stop her from quitting the party. At the time of her joining the BJP, she said, “All the good members of the Trinamool have joined the BJP… There [in the Trinamool] you are only given posts and not allowed to do any work.”

Trinamool’s two-time MLA from Itahar in Uttar Dinajpur district, Amal Acharjee, joined the BJP the party just two weeks before the election after he was denied the ticket. Lashing out at his old party at the time of his quitting, Acharjee had said, “This time the cut-money government of Trinamool will not be returning to power.” Just three weeks after the BJP’s defeat, Acharjee said he wanted to return to his old party. “I have always followed Didi’s ideology and worked for the Trinamool. I joined the BJP and worked for them for a few days out of anger and frustration after being denied the ticket; it was not out of any ideological shift. Now I am seeing that while Didi is trying to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the BJP is indulging in political vendetta by having heavyweight Ministers like Firhad Hakim and Subrata Mukherjee arrested,” said Acharjee on May 23.

The Trinamool claimed that there were many more within the BJP who wished to return to the Trinamool fold. “Not just these three, there are quite a few leaders who left Trinamool for the BJP and now want to come back. But I want to make it clear that this is a matter of principles, and the Trinamool Congress is at present busy combating the COVID-19 pandemic… no decision has been taken on this matter yet,” said Trinamool spokesperson Kunal Ghosh. According to Kunal, around seven-eight BJP MLAs and three MPs are in touch with the Trinamool.

West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh said that there were plenty of people who joined the saffron party believing that the BJP would win, and they would get the party ticket to contest the election. “There are people who feel that they had misunderstood when they joined. That is their problem…. If they feel they have made a mistake, then they are free to correct it,” said Ghosh.