In a major setback to the BJP in West Bengal ahead of the panchayat elections, party MLA Suman Kanjilal joined the ruling Trinamool Congress on Sunday. Kanjilal, who represents Alipurduar constituency, was handed over the TMC flag by party general secretary Abhishek Banerjee at a function in Kolkata.
"Rejecting the anti-people policies & hate-laden agenda of @BJP4India, Shri Suman Kanjilal joined the AITC family today, in the presence of our National General Secretary Shri @abhishekaitc Yet another @BJP4Bengal MLA realises the truth that BJP has no intention to serve people," the TMC said in a tweet.
Kanjilal, a journalist-turned-politician, is the sixth MLA from the BJP to have switched sides after the 2021 Assembly elections in which the Mamata Banerjee-led party returned to power for the third consecutive term. With his exit, the BJP's strength in the Assembly was reduced to 69.
Welcoming Kanjilal into the party, TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh claimed that several other MLAs are waiting to join the party. “But our leader Abhishek Banerjee will be judicious and screen every case on merit," he said.
The BJP, However, sought to play down Kajilal's switch, saying it won't affect the BJP's prospects in the upcoming panchayat elections.
"In a big party like the BJP, the leaving of one or two legislators to a party like the TMC, which has its back to the wall in mounting corruption cases, will not make any impact," BJP state spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya said.
Leader of the Opposition Suvendu Adhikari said that the MLA has betrayed the people of Alipurduar.
—With PTI inputs