Hours after joining the Trinamool Congress on Saturday, singer-politician Babul Supriyo said that he had become “disillusioned” with the Bharatiya Janata Party, NDTV reported.
Supriyo, who won the Asansol Lok Sabha seat in the 2019 general elections on a BJP ticket, had quit active politics in July after he was dropped as a Union minister from Narendra Modi’s Cabinet during a reshuffle. On July 31, Supriyo had said that he would resign as an MP as well. But two days later he said he will continue to be an MP.
“I did feel disillusioned...The seven years of hard work that I put in....Not even my detractors will say that I have not fought in Bengal or I have not done good enough for the party,” Supriyo told NDTV in an interview.
The former Union minister said he felt as if his political journey was “reaching a bottleneck” in the BJP.
“I am not really okay with sitting on the bench,” Supriyo added. “Rather than pleading with the coach to make me part of the playing eleven, I felt I should move on to a team where the coach would want me in the playing eleven.”
In another interview to The Indian Express, Supriyo said that Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’ Brien offered him a chance to join the party.
“It was an absolute bolt from the blue,” Supriyo told the newspaper. “I was taken aback to know that both [West Bengal Chief Minister] Mamata [Banerjee] didi and [Trinamool Congress MP] Abhishek [Banerjee] had a great opportunity for me to work for my state...It is true that I left politics, but sometimes poetic justice happens.”
The Asansol MP said that while some might see his decision as opportunism, he thought it was an opportunity.
Asked whether his work during his stint at the BJP had been recognised, Supriyo said that “things were not right” in the party.
“Otherwise why would I leave,” he asked. “Why would things go in the direction they are in now? There must have been something wrong from either side.”
Meanwhile, BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari said that Supriyo’s exit would not hurt the party, PTI reported. The BJP had named Supriyo as one of its star campaigners for the Bhabanipur bye-polls.
“Babul Supriyo should have told BJP before leaving the party,” he told reporters on Saturday. “His exit is not a loss for BJP. He is not a mass leader and not a good political organiser. However, personally, he is a good friend.”
The two political rivals in West Bengal – the Trinamool Congress and the BJP – have seen several leaders switching sides over the last few months.
In the run up to the Assembly elections in the state in April, Adhikari, once a trusted lieutenant of Mamata Banerjee, joined the BJP and even defeated the chief minister from the Nandigram Assembly seat by a margin of 1,956 votes.
His exit from the party had triggered an exodus, which saw several Trinamool Congress leaders, including many Cabinet ministers, joining the BJP.
However, the tides have turned since the Trinamool Congress returned to power in the state in May. Supriyo is the fifth BJP leader to join the Trinamool Congress since then.
Soumen Roy returned to the Trinamool Congress on September 4. Biswajit Das joined the Banerjee-led party on August 31, while Tanmay Ghosh switched sides a day before that. Another BJP leader, Mukul Roy, had returned to the Trinamool Congress on June 11.