As expected since his implicit messages conveying his increasing cosying up with the Trinamool Congress and as much distancing from the BJP, Arjun Singh, the BJP MP from Barrackpore, joined the Trinamool Congress. What is being touted as his ‘ghar wapsi‘ happened in the presence of the chief minister’s nephew and No. 2 in the state government Abhishek Banerjee.
Arjun Singh went to Abhishek Banerjee’s Camac Street office and joined his old team. The local leadership of North 24 Parganas Trinamool Congress — Jyotipriya Mallick, Raj Chakraborty, Partho Bhowmik — had reached Abhishek Banerjee’s office before Arjun Singh. The chief minister’s nephew had a private meeting with the group.
According to sources, Abhishek Banerjee discussed with Arjun Singh and his old comrades his role and utility in the Trinamool Congress. Jyotipriya Mallik’s bitter relationship with Arjun Singh, which developed during the Hindi-speaking leader’s time in the BJP, was a rough edge that needed to be taken care of.
Arjun Singh has been speaking and behaving like a rebel for several days. He repeatedly spoke out against the BJP, sometimes over the state of the jute industry and about the condition of the Bengal unit of the organisation at other times. He added to the speculation at a press conference this morning when he said, “If any incident happens, you will know. I may have to go to Kolkata today. I have spent a lot of time on the price of jute. I have given a lot of time to the centre. The countdown is over, the countdown has started, time alone will tell whether I will stay in the BJP or not.”
Locals in Barrackpore say, however, that “jute” was a desperate issue Arjun Singh clung on. “Due to the BJP central leadership’s callous regard for Bengal, he was looking for an excuse to leave,” said a source.
Arjun Singh adds to the queue of several politicians that had joined the BJP from the Trinamool Congress whom the Congress-like behaving north Indian-natured BJP could not make good use of, say local observers. “Earlier, they brought a crook like Mukul Roy to the BJP. Okey aanli keno? Ar aanli to kaaje lagalina keno? (Why did you bring him? And if you did, why did you not make use of him?),” asked a visibly frustrated BJP karyakarta from Barrackpore.
“They don’t know Bengal and they are not interested to learn either,” a worker said about the central leadership, adding, “I don’t think they are so dumb that even if they try, they wouldn’t get it.”
“You cannot hide your incompetence by calling these people turncoats,” opined another karyakarta. These so-called weathercocks were contributing their level best to the BJP. But especially after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP president JP Nadda looked the other way as our workers started getting butchered by Trinamool Congress goons, disillusionment with the ‘north Indian’ party began,” said a follower of Arjun Singh who is going to join the Trinamool Congress as well. He said, however, that he was “always saffron”; he had not joined the BJP following his leader. “Ekhane BJP kore labh nei (there is no point working for the BJP in West Bengal),” he added.