As many as six TMC MLAs and one each from Congress and CPI(M), have joined the BJP since the Lok Sabha election results were announced in May this year.
In a major jolt to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, former Kolkata Mayor and her close aide Sovan Chatterjee joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday. Chatterjee quit as the Kolkata Mayor and state minister in November last year after a fallout with Banerjee following personal reasons.
Chatterjee’s switching sides is the latest in the flight of TMC MLAs to the saffron party since the Lok Sabha election results were announced. As many as six TMC MLAs, and one each from Congress and CPI(M), have joined the BJP. The BJP has been wooing rival party leaders to bolster its strength ahead of the 2021 West Bengal assembly polls.
West Bengal BJP leader Mukul Roy, who was his former associate in the Trinamool Congress, was also present as Chatterjee joined the saffron fold in Delhi. He also met BJP working president JP Nadda after joining the party. His friend Professor Baishaki Banerjee, who is a leader of TMC’s education cell, also joined the BJP.
A senior TMC leader told news agency PTI, preferring anonymity, that he will be expelled from the TMC and the party is yet to make a final announcement.
Chatterjee has won Assembly polls four times on TMC ticket and has been a councillor of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation for three decades. Chatterjee, a known fundraiser for the ruling TMC in Bengal, did not pay heed to efforts by top TMC Partha Chatterjee to woo him back to the party. However, party sources said that efforts are on to bring Chatterjee back to the party fold.
In 2017, the Enforcement Directorate and the CBI summoned him in the Narada sting case. He was one of the TMC leaders purportedly seen taking cash from the journalist who conducted the sting.