The Trinamool Congress' (TMC) candidate from the Habibpur constituency of West Bengal, for the upcoming Assembly elections in the state, Sarala Murmu has now joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Along with Murmu, four sitting MLAs from the TMC, who were denied tickets for the polls by the party, have also joined the saffron brigade. These MLAs are Rabindranath Bhattacharya (Singur), Sonali Guha (Satgachia), Dipendu Biswas (Basirhat) and Jatu Lahiri (Shibpur).
That apart, 14 members of the Malda Zilla Parishad also joined the BJP.
TMC Replaces Candidate Due to ‘Ill Health’
After reports started doing the rounds that Sarala Murmu, will be switching to the BJP, in the morning on 8 March, the TMC issued a press release ‘replacing’ her as a candidate from Habibpur in Malda.
The party announced that Pradeep Baskey will be contesting instead of Murmu due to the latter's ‘ill health’.
Party sources say that Murmu wanted to contest from some other seat and has been offered a seat of her choice by the BJP.
MLAs Express Anger at Not Getting Ticket
All these MLAs had expressed their anger with the party high command after having been given a miss during ticket distribution.
MLA from Singur, 88-year old Rabindranath Bhattacharya, has been speaking against the party and Prashant Kishor's Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC), that is handling the elections for the TMC.
Known popularly as 'Mastermoshai' (teacher), Bhattacharya was a leading figure in the Singur movement against the then Left Front government in West Bengal. He was dropped as a candidate as per the party's policy of not fielding candidates over 80 years of age.
The TMC's Becharam Manna, presently sitting MLA from Haripal, was fielded from Singur this year. His wife was, Karabi Manna, was fielded from his original seat of Haripal.
“The party has become a family party. Husband and wife were given tickets from adjoining constituencies,” said Bhattacharya to ABP Anondo, in Kolkata, before joining the party.
Sonali Guha, MLA from Satgachia, was the Deputy Speaker of the West Bengal Assembly and was known as "Mamata's shadow", a close aide of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Dipendu Biswas who was a former footballer and Jatu Lahiri expressed their dissent against the party and I-PAC as well.