KOLKATA: BJP’s inroads in civic bodies received a jolt as the Trinamool Congress wrested five of the total six municipalities from the saffron camp in Kolkata’s adjoining North 24-Parganas.The opposition party had made these gains under the leadership of senior leader Mukul Roy, who was once Mamata’s trusted aide.
The exodus from the Trinamool Congress had drawn national attention after Roy took councillors of the six municipalities to BJP national headquarters in May and June shortly after the Lok Sabha election results were announced.
The mass defection was followed by BJP’s massive inroads in Bengal in the Lok Sabha elections taking its tally from 2 to 18, four less than the ruling party. Both the BJP and the Trinamool described the defection and return to the ruling party’s fold as a fall out of “fear and favour”.
BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said the defectors were won back by Trinamool through fear and favour, and the tide would turn again before the Assembly polls in 2021. The Trinamool, too, had cited the same reason when the councillors joined the BJP.
The five municipalities that Trinamool wrested are Kanchrapara, Halishahar, Naihati, Garulia and Bongaon. The ruling party had proved its dominance in these municipalities in the floor tests.
“We have majority in Bhatpara municipality as well because majority of the defectors decided to return. We will get Bhatpara municipality before November,’’ said Jyotipriya Mullick, Bengal food and supplies minister and Trinamool’s North 24-Parganas president.
Shot in the arm for Mamata
During a meeting earlier this month, Trinamool leaders were instructed to reach out to voters and also focus on the “Didi Ke Bolo” (Tell Didi) campaign till October 27, the day of Kali Pujo, in Bengal