KOLKATA: The 25th anniversary of Trinamool Congress' 'July 21 martyr's day' celebrations became a stage for defections and new beginnings as former BJP MP and 'The Pioneer' editor-cum-owner Chandan Mitra, four Congress MLAs from Malda and Murshidabad districts, and a former CPM MP joined TMC in the presence of party supremo Mamata Banerjee on Saturday.
Senior journalist Mitra had resigned from the BJP earlier this week. He had become increasingly critical of the Amit Shah-Narendra Modi axis of power in the BJP. Mitra was nominated by BJP twice to the upper house of Parliament from Madhya Pradesh.
Congress MLAs Abu Taher Khan, Md Akruzzaman, Samar Mukherjee and Sabina Yasmin also joined the party. Besides, former CPM MP Moinul Hassan joined the party while expelled CPM MP Ritabrata Banerjee was declared as a party observer.
Also, in a setback to the BJP, 56 representatives of the saffron party who won in the western districts of the state in the panchayat elections joined the ruling party.
Speaking on the defections, West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee President Adhir Ranjan Choudhury said: "The Congress MLAs were threatened to either join TMC or face pressing of false cases against them. The Congress MLAs who have joined TMC could not stand the pressure and threats. TMC is systematically decimating Congress and will continue to do so. If you call this our defeat, so be it."