In a state where it is dangerous to not bow before the party in power, particularly its head, former Union Minister Babul Supriyo joined the Trinamool Congress. This comes days after he had officially announced he had quit politics.
Babul Supriyo was one of the staunchest critics of Trinamool Congress head and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. While announcing his ‘retirement’ from politics, he had insisted he would not be joining any other political party.
In his latest union cabinet reshuffle, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had dropped Babul Supriyo. Within days thereafter, he said he was bidding adieu from politics. However, he did not officially resign as an MP from the BJP.
There was no gossip about Babul Supriyo joining the Trinamool Congress, as reports said that the BJP kept the singer-turned-politician as a star campaigner for BJP’s Bhabanipur by-poll candidate Priyanka Tibrewal. He had even tweeted in support of Tibrewal, who represented the former minister in several legal cases, Supriyo had tweeted.
The Trinamool Congress said this was just the beginning as many BJP leaders were in contact with their leadership. “They are not satisfied with BJP. One (Babul Supriyo) joined today, another wants to join tomorrow. This process will go on. Wait and watch,” Trinamool leader Kunal Ghosh said.
The exit of a heavyweight former minister and former singer just ahead of the Bhabanipur by-election in which Priyanka Tibrewal will be challenging Mamata Banerjee bolsters the ruling party’s strength.
The former banker and singer had joined the BJP in 2014 after a chance meeting in a flight with Baba Ramdev who reportedly had recommended his name to the party heads. The singer won from the Asansol Lok Sabha constituency.
Between 2014 and 2021, he served as a minister of the state of several departments including urban development, housing, urban poverty alleviation, ministry of heavy industries, public enterprises, the ministry of environment, forest and climate change etc. His significance in the party in the state got whittled down because of Dilip Ghosh while he lost his cabinet post after he was defeated in the West Bengal assembly election.
The former minister has remained thankful to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah. However, in many of his social media posts, he said how infighting among the BJP in West Bengal was demoralising the party workers.
Recently, after journalist-turned-BJP MP Chandan Mitra died, IPS officer M Nageswara Rao tweeted that he had run into the former journalist and asked why he had joined the Trinamool Congress, to which the editor of The Pioneer reportedly broke down. While Mitra was in the party, contesting election on BJP tickets twice and losing each time, he would write how the ruling party in West Bengal intimidated the voters identified as pro-opposition so much that they would dare not leave their houses on the election day.
The same refrain was heard once again after the 2 May declaration of West Bengal election results when, out of fear for life and of abject humiliation, many who had left the Trinamool Congress to join the BJP had returned ‘home’.