KOLKATA: In a major blow to the Congress in Bengal, two major leaders of the party traipsed over to the Trinamool Congress on Monday. Manas Bhunia is a former Pradesh Congress Committee president and Mohammed Sohrab is a former Congress Legislature Party chief. They defected with a train of minor Congress leaders.
"This is the real Congress,” said Bhunia, a seven time MLA, about the Trinamool Congress. “Bidhan Bhavan (the PCC office) is a haunted place now. Congress is now an enterprise of Adhir Chaudhury (the current BPCC chief) and Abdul Mannan (the current CLP leader)."
Education minister Partha Chatterjee welcomed the defecotrs. "The BPCC is decimated and we are happy to have our old colleague back with us," he said.
Five-time MLA Sohrab and three other leaders Khalid Ebadullah, Asit Majumdar, Manoj Pandey went along with Bhunia.
Reacting to the defections, state Congress general secretary Omprakash Mishra said Bhunia must now relinquish his Assembly seat from Sabang and resign from the Congress immediately.
A Congress leader from Kharagpur said Bhunia joined the ruling party for protection in a case of murder of a Congress worker Joydeb Jana in East Medinipur district. Bhunia is an accused in the case.
On Sunday, the Congress lost its traditional stronghold of Behrampore in central Bengal when all 17 Congress councillors of the municipality led by chairman Nilratan Addya defected to Trinamool Congress.