In a major setback for the ruling party in Bengal, top leadership from Trinamool Congress have switched camps overnight to join Bharatiya Janata Party. The unprecedented move was spearheaded by MLA Suvendu Adhikari. Along with him, six heavyweight MLAs and one MP left TMC to join hands with BJP. The migration was celebrated at Home Minister Amit Shah’s rally in Midnapore, West Bengal on Saturday, where Adhikari ceremoniously held the saffron flag. In total, 40 TMC leaders join BJP from across the state, following the lead of Adhikari.
Why the sudden migration?
Turncoat leaders are aplenty in Indian politics and there are also multiple instances of such mass migration into the opposition party. In 2019, several Congress MLAs in Karnataka joined BJP overnight before the assembly byelections in the state.
In 2017, Mukul Roy, one of the most prominent TMC leaders in West Bengal, joined BJP after publicly announcing his split from Mamata Banerjee’s party. However, nothing compares to the major setback faced by the party at present, with the sudden exodus of a substantial number of leaders.
Adhikari, who held three ministerial portfolios in the Mamata Banerjee cabinet, submitted his resignation in November, though it is yet to be accepted by the ruling party.
Amit Shah threatens Mamata
At his pre-poll campaign in West Midnapore, Amit Shah threatened CM Mamata Banerjee of a disappointing loss at the upcoming assembly elections. “You’ll be left alone by the time the election happens,” Shah said to Mamata after the induction of Adhikari and other TMC leaders into BJP.
In his speech, he reiterated how TMC has become the epitome of corruption with extortion, appeasement and nephew-isation (Tolabaji-Tushtikaran-Bhatijakaran) as their transformed ideologies. The last part of ‘nephew-isation’ was a dig at Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee, who has unofficially become her right hand in the party power dynamics. Suvendu Adhikari also levelled complaint of nepotism against Mamata, raising the slogan – Bhaipo Hathao (remove the nephew).
TMC leaders Join BJP leaving Mamata vulnerable
The party first came to power in 2011, after ending the 34-year-long Left rule in West Bengal. Since then, more than thirty leading politicians from Congress and Left have migrated to TMC over the years. Interestingly, it was Suvendu Adhikari himself who played a leading role in convincing these leaders into switching camps.
The present scenario leaves TMC at a vulnerable position before the crucial 2021 polls. It is for the first time in history that BJP has witnessed a meteoric rise in popularity in the erstwhile ‘secular’ state. Now with the mass migration of important leaders, BJP stands a considerable chance at coming to power in the state.
Meanwhile, the BJP social media team had removed their previously uploaded videos on YouTube that showed leaders like Adhikari and Mukul Roy accepting bribe on camera. The 2016 video was a result of a sting operation by Narada News, where they caught several TMC leaders taking bribe openly. Now with the change in allegiance of these leaders, BJP has promptly taken down the videos.