In a major setback for West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, Trinamool Congress (TMC) MLA and party strongman Arjun Singh on Thursday joined the BJP, reports ANI.
Delhi: Trinamool Congress MLA Arjun Singh (in center) joins Bharatiya Janata Party. pic.twitter.com/QrWf6u6Qaw
— ANI (@ANI) March 14, 2019
Singh went to Delhi on an 'emergency basis' on Wednesday night and had a meeting with former TMC leader Mukul Roy and BJP general secretary and West Bengal in-charge Kailash Vijayvargiya, Times Now had reported. Singh is said to have had talks with leaders of the saffron party for some time now after being denied a Lok Sabha ticket from Barrackpore constituency. He is a sitting MLA from Bhatapara.
Speaking to News18 earlier, he had said that voters were not happy with Barrackpore sitting MP Dinesh Trivedi due to the latter's prolonged absence from the constituency. “This time, I was expecting the ticket from Barrackpore...But the party (TMC) decided to give Trivedi the ticket. I have nothing to say,” he had said.
Singh’s supporters had, in fact, been campaigning aggressively in the Barrackpore, Bhatpara, Bijpur and Naihati areas and dropping hints that he may switch to the saffron party if denied a Lok Sabha ticket this time.
Banerjee reportedly met both Singh and Trivedi on Monday and asked them to forget differences and work for the party together. Times Now also cites sources to say that Banerjee is likely to have offered him a bigger position in a bid to stop him from joining the national party.
Singh is considered a heavyweight leader with a considerable number of party cadre and workers supporting him. According to reports, his defection to BJP will mean trouble for Banerjee in the coming days. TMC had also denied tickets to six sitting MPs in its list.
Earlier this month, expelled TMC MP Anupam Hazra had joined the BJP at the party's headquarters in Delhi in the presence of Vijayvargiya. Hazra, who had won the 2014 election from Bolpur in West Bengal, was expelled for anti-party activities on 9 January, 2019.
Roy, again, had resigned from the Rajya Sabha and quit TMC in late 2017 before being inducted into BJP. He was one of the founder members of the TMC.
Updated Date: Mar 14, 2019 14:14:52 IST