KOLKATA: Trinamool Congress Monday refuting allegations of its involvement in the killing of BJP leader Manish Shukla, claimed he was in touch with it and had expressed his desire to return to the party fold.
Senior TMC leader and Minister Firhad Hakim said Shukla was forced to join the saffron party last year by BJP MP Arjun Singh.
The BJP has dubbed the claim as "baseless".
"Manish Shukla's death is unfortunate. I knew him. The allegations that TMC is behind his killing is baseless and an attempt to divert attention from the truth," Hakim told newsmen here.
"Shukla was an active member of TMC.
He was forced to join BJP by Arjun Singh," he said.
Hakim wondered why Shukla was not provided central forces security cover like other state BJP leaders.
"Shukla was not happy in BJP. He wanted to return to TMC and has been sending feelers to our leadership for the last few months.
We don't know - maybe he was killed because he wanted to return to TMC.
"Only investigation will bring out the truth.
But we feel he was killed due to infighting of BJP," he said.
Shukla had entered politics as CPI(M) sympathiser in 2004-2005 and had switched over to TMC in 2009.
He was elected as a TMC councillor in 2015 from Titagarh municipality in North 24 Parganas district.
In 2019 he switched over to BJP.
Reacting to the TMC claims, Singh dubbed it as "baseless".
"The claims that Shukla wanted to return to TMC is not only baseless but laughable.
Why would someone get into a sinking ship like the TMC? Firhad Hakim will face publi c protests once TMC is out of power after 2021 assembly polls," Singh said.
The saffron party has demanded CBI inquiry to bring out the truth.
The state administration has handed over the investigation to state CID.
Shukla's death has triggered a full-blown political war between BJP and TMC.
The saffron party is blaming TMC for the incident but the ruling party has rubbished the accusation.
"It is shameful that the TMC has now started politics of annihilation of political opponents.
We don't have any faith in local police as this happened in front of the police station.
We want a CBI inquiry," BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya said.
Senior TMC leader Nirmal Ghosh said the incident was a result of infighting within the BJP and allegations against his party were baseless.