Former TMC MLA Dipak Haldar on 2 February joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in presence of party leaders Mukul Roy and Suvendu Adhikari, giving the saffron party a fillip ahead of the Bengal Assembly elections due in April-May next year.
The Diamond Harbour MLA had resigned from the Mamata Banerjee-led party on 1 February. “I am a two-time MLA. But, since 2017, I am not allowed to work properly for the masses. Despite informing the leadership, no action was taken to improve the situation. I am not informed about any party programme. I am answerable to the people of my constituency and supporters,” a news agency quoted Haldar as saying.
The Mamata Banerjee-led TMC in West Bengal faced several defections in the recent past ahead of the Assembly elections in the state.
On 30 January, former West Bengal minister and TMC MLA Rajib Banerjee and a few other leaders of the state’s ruling party joined the BJP in the national capital after meeting senior BJP leader and Union Home Minister Amit Shah. Baishali Dalmiya, Prabir Ghoshal, Rathin Chakraborti and Rudranil Ghosh were among the leaders who joined the saffron party with Banerjee.
Banerjee is the third minister to quit the state cabinet in the last two months after West Bengal political heavyweight Suvendu Adhikari, who switched over to the BJP. The second minister to resign from the party was Laxmi Ratan Shukla, who expressed his desire to quit politics.
In December, Adhikari, a former close aide of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, quit the TMC and joined the saffron party along with TMC MP Sunil Mondal and, nine sitting MLAs, including five from the state’s ruling party at Shah’s rally in Midnapore.
Shah had earlier claimed that Mamata Banerjee will be left alone by the time the West Bengal election begins.