KOLKATA: Former Union minister and BJP leader Yashwant Sinha joined Trinamool Congress on Saturday, days before the state goes to the first phase of Assembly polls on March 27.
Talking about his decision, Sinha said it was triggered by the recent ‘attack’ on Mamata Banerjee in Nandigram and the BJPled Centre’s ant i -peopl e strategy. Recounting Mamata’s role when he was external affairs minister in 1999 and a plane was hijacked to Kandahar, Sinha said: “She had even offered to go as a hostage to the terrorists who hijacked the aircraft. Behind my decision, the tipping point was the attack on Mamataji in Nandigram. When I came to know about it, I took the decision.
I was also influenced by her determination to resist BJP in the state and oppose its antipeople policy,’’ said Sinha after being handed the TMC flag by stat e minister Subrata Mukherjee. Sinha met Mamata at her residence for around 45 minutes. “The country is going through a tough time. Things that should be given priority in democracy are in crisis. Important institutions are in crisis, which is a serious threat to democracy. Our farmers are sitting on the road but nobody bothers,’’ said Sinha.
He also said the current BJP is different from what it was in Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s regime. Sinha’s inclusion in the TMC is said to be an attempt by Bengal’s ruling party to woo voters from Bihar who are and settled in Kolkata. Bengal has around six per cent non- Bengali speaking voters and a considerable chunk of them are from Bihar.
Praising Mamata, Sinha said: “She has remained a fighter. She is fighting in Bengal to stop BJP.’’ TMC leader Mukherjee said it was a proud moment that a leader like Sinha has joined TMC. “Had the chief minister not been injured, she would have been present here. We will be enriched by the inclusion of Sinha. Other than Mamata, no other leader has the stature of Sinha in our party,’’ he said.