BJP leader Mukul Roy's son Subhrangshu Roy, who was suspended by the Trinamool Congress (TMC) for six years, joined the BJP on Tuesday, along with TMC MLA Tusharkanti Bhattacharjee and CPM MLA Devendra Roy. Over 60 TMC councillors too defected to the saffron party.
Senior party leaders, including West Bengal party in-charge Kailash Vijayvargiya and Mukul Roy, were present at the party headquarters on the occasion.
"Like the elections were held in seven phases in West Bengal, joinings in BJP will also happen in seven phases. Today was just the first phase," Vijayvargiya asserted.
Meanwhile, 16 TMC councillors of the Kanchrapara Municipality collectively withdrew from the AITC Councillor Party earlier on Tuesday. Subhrangshu Roy also withdrew his membership. He had been suspended from the TMC on May 25 for anti-party comments.
"Now, I will breathe freely. Many in the TMC feel suffocated," the two-time MLA from Bijpur assembly constituency had said after getting suspended. He had claimed that several others from the party will "follow his footsteps".
Two TMC MLAs and one CPM MLA from West Bengal join BJP at party headquarters in Delhi. More than 50 Councillors also join BJP pic.twitter.com/9cJ0gTn9FC— ANI (@ANI) May 28, 2019
The TMC had cracked the whip hours after Roy junior expressed doubts over whether his party had faith in him and praised his father.
He admitted his failure to provide a lead from his Assembly segment Bijpur to the party's Lok Sabha candidate from Barrackpore Dinesh Trivedi, who lost to his BJP rival Arjun Singh. He said: "I have been defeated by my father. But I don't blame anyone, nor do I have any grief or anger."
He had then said that both he and his father had done the best for their respective parties. But people had chosen his father. "Many people had said that if one Mukul Roy leaves, they will make hundreds of Mukul Roys. I just want to say Mukul Roy who was there since the inception of the party has now single-handedly destroyed it," Roy added.
BJP's newly-elected Barrackpore MP Arjun Singh, who deserted the Trinamool after being denied ticket from the constituency, was said to have played a key role in engineering the defections.
During the Lok Sabha campaign, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Shah and other BJP leaders had claimed that around 100 Trinamool MLAs could join the BJP once the general election got over. Modi had even said that 40 Trinamool legislators were in touch with him.
Tuesday's development comes days after BJP stormed the TMC citadel winning 18 seats, 16 seats more than it bagged in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. TMC bagged 22 out of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state. Congress managed to win just two seats, while the Left parties drew a blank.
(With inputs from agencies)