In a massive setback to Mamata Banerjee and the Trinamool, leaders from the party have defected en masse to the BJP.
The BJP press briefing to announce the Trinamool leaders joining the New Delhi-based party witnessed the entire briefing area being filled to bursting. There are believed to be three West Bengal MLAs and around 50 councillors amongst the defectors. Subhranshu Roy and Tusharkanti Bhattacharjee are the Trinamool MLAs while CPM MLA Devendra Roy is also among those who have jumped ship.
The development comes less than a day after Republic TV broke news that three Trinamool MLAs led by former Mamata-aide Mukul Roy's son Subhrangshu Roy were on their way to New Delhi to join the BJP.
BJP National General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya who addressed the briefing said that just as polls in West Bengal were held in seven phases, such joinings will continue in phases and that this was the first.
Subhrangshu Roy, the legislator for the state's Bijpur assembly seat, had been suspended from the Trinamool for six years for anti-party activities and had recently declared that he would be joining the BJP. His father Mukul Roy had departed the Trinamool in November 2017 after a falling-out with the West Bengal Chief Minister. He has been a constant thorn in her side since then.
The Trinamool suffered a big setback in West Bengal in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, with the BJP managing to win a massive 18 seats compared to just 2 in 2014, while the Trinamool's own tally fell from 34 seats to 22. Additionally, as per the Election Commission, the BJP almost equalled the Trinamool's vote-share in the state after a high-voltage and combative campaign, winning 40.3% votes in comparison to Trinamool's 43.3%.
During the campaign in the state in which a war-of-words of some sort or the other had broken out almost each day, PM Modi had on April 29 sensationally said during a poll rally in Serampore that around 40 Trinamool MLAs were in touch with the BJP and they were waiting for the election results to make their next move.
In the 2016 West Bengal Assembly elections, the Trinamool had won a massive 211 seats out of 295 in the assembly, with the BJP also falling behind the Congress and the Left. In 2019, however, the party has made significant inroads.
Following the election results, Mamata Banerjee had said that she had offered to resign as the Chief Minister of the state and function only as the chief of the Trinamool. However, the party had rejected her resignation, she had added. The BJP, on the other hand, had said that she was simply attempting to gain sympathy.