MALDA/KOLKATA: Congress MP Mausam Benazir Noor who joined the Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Monday, said only West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is able to fight the Bharatiya Janata Party in the state.
The second-term Congress MP also asked his maternal uncle Abu Hasem Khan Chowdhury and his son Isha Khan Chowdhury, MP and MLA of the Congress respectively, to switch over to the ruling party like her.
However, these two Congress leaders later said they would not leave the party.
Addressing a press conference at Malda on Tuesday, Noor compared Mamata Banerjee, also Trinamool Congress to the late Congress stalwart and former Union minister ABA Ghani Khan Chowdhury, another maternal uncle of hers.
"Barkat saheb (Ghani Khan Chowdhury) had worked for the development of Malda. He believed in secularism. Didi (Mamata Banerjee) too has these qualities," the MP from Malda North constituency said.
Noor said, "If we want development of Malda, we have to strengthen Didi's hand. Only she is able to protect the state from the BJP. These are the reasons I changed the party."
Meanwhile, state Congress president Somen Mitra said Noor had not only betrayed the Congress but also people of his constituency.
"If Mausam wanted to join the TMC she could have openly told us. Her joining TMC would not effect our party's organisation in Malda. Malda will continue to be the Congress stronghold," Mitra told reporters in Kolkata.
According to state Congress sources, the party is likely to field Sujapur Congress MLA and Noor's cousin, Isha Khan Chowdhury from Malda North seat in next Lok Sabha polls.
Soon after her joining, Banerjee on Monday announced that Noor will be Trinamool's general secretary and would be taking care of the party in Uttar Dinajpur, Dakshin Dinajpur and Malda.
Abu Hasem Khan Chowdhury, MP of Malda South, and his son Isha said there is no question of leaving the Congress.
Abu Hasem Khan Chowdhury's brother, Abu Naser Khan Chowdhury had joined the Trinamool Congress in 2016.
The bordering district of Malda has been a Congress bastion for several decades.
Even after the Trinamool Congress formed a government in the state, the Congress maintained its hold on the district.
This is the first time that a Congress MP defected to the Trinamool since 2011.
After 2016 assembly polls, 14 Congress MLAs have switched over to the TMC.