GUWAHATI: In Left-ruled Tripura, the Trinamool Congress is set to lose all its six MLAs to the BJP. One of the MLAs confirmed the development to the New Indian Express on Thursday. “Yes, all of us, including Dilip Sarkar, are joining the BJP. We will join the party any day after July 22,” the MLS said.
The MLAs had won the 2013 Tripura elections as Congress candidates but defected to the Trinamool Congress last year.
That the TMC MLAs are cosying up to the BJP was evident from their attending a meeting with Ram Nath Kovind, the presidential nominee of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), in Guwahati in the evening. Kovind, who is on a nationwide tour to elicit support, met MPs and MLAs of some states of the Northeast.
Tripura’s rebel Congress MLA Ratan Lal Nath was also at the meeting with Kovind. Nath, who is one of Tripura’s three Congress MLAs, is likely to defect to the BJP.
Earlier this week, the TMC had “severed ties” with five of the six MLAs as they had refused to toe the party line vis-a-vis the presidential election. They had taken a stance that they would not back anyone who is being supported by the Left parties and made it known to the party leadership. Differences cropped up as both the TMC and the Left parties are supporting Opposition nominee Meira Kumar.
The argument of the five TMC MLAs was that they could not back the candidature of a person who was being supported by the Left parties. Subsequently, the leadership severed their one-year-old ties with the party. One of the TMC MLAs, Sudip Roy Barman, said they were neither suspended nor expelled from the party.
The TMC has not taken any action against the sixth MLA, Dilip Sarkar, but reports suggest that he too would defect to the BJP. Sarkar is in Delhi undergoing treatment but according to the BJP, he was scheduled to attend the meeting with Kovind.
The development is being viewed as a blow to the TMC which is trying to grow in a state that has a large Bengali population. With Assembly elections due early next year, the BJP has already launched an aggressive campaign against the Left Front, which has been in power since 1993.