Trinamool heavyweight Arjun Singh joins BJP

Published : March 14, 2019 17:16 IST

Arjun Singh, four times Trinamool Congress MLA joining the BJP in the presence of Kailash Vijayvargiya (right) and Mukul Roy at a press conference, in New Delhi on March 13. Photograph: Sandeep Saxena

In a major blow to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, a heavyweight Trinamool MLA, Arjun Singh, joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on March 14 after he was denied the party ticket for the Lok Sabha election. His departure is being seen as a particularly nasty setback for the Trinamool as the four-time MLA from Bhatpara in North 24 Paraganas district wields considerable influence in several other regions like Barrackpur, Hooghly and Dum Dum and can be a deciding factor in the elections there.

At a press conference organised at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi, Arjun Singh said he was anguished by Mamata Banerjee’s reaction to the air strikes carried out by the Indian Air Force on the terror camps at Balakot in Pakistan. “I was very upset when she asked for evidence after the air strikes and asked myself what kind of a person am I working for, for whom the country is not of primary importance. Her primary concern is how to keep her votes intact,” he said. Accusing the Trinamool Congress of widespread corruption, he said “The M M M that used to stand for Maa, Maati, Manush (Mother, Land and People—Trinamool’s party slogan) has now become Money, Money, Money.”

The recent rush of migration from the Trinamool Congress to the BJP does not bode well for the ruling party, which for so long reigned supreme in the State, with other political parties lagging far behind. “You have seen how Saumitra Khan, and Anupam Hazra from the Trinamool Congress joined the BJP; the CPI(M)’s MLA Khagen Murmu, and the Congress MLA Dulal Bar have also joined the BJP. This is just the trailer, the real cinema is about to begin,” said Mukul Roy, former Trinamool strongman turned BJP leader.

The Trinamool leadership has been dismissive of Arjun Singh’s defection. “It does not matter who leaves the party. The people will vote for Mamata Banerjee. The development work that has been done in West Bengal has not been done in the rest of the country,” said Trinamool leader Dinesh Trivedi, who will be contesting from the Barrackpur Lok Sabha seat. According to sources, Barrackpur was the seat that Arjun Singh wanted to contest from.

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