The Trinamool Congress downplayed the defection of two of its legislators and at least 50 councillors in West Bengal to the Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday as a “temporary phase” and a “minor crisis”, reports said.
Two Trinamool Congress legislators, including Bharatiya Janata Party leader Mukul Roy’s son Subhrangshu Roy, joined the saffron party at an event in New Delhi. Communist Party of India (Marxist) MLA Debendra Nath Roy also joined the party. Councillors from Kanchrapara , Halisahar and Naihati municipalities were also in Delhi to join the BJP.
The Trinamool Congress, in an official statement, said the people of West Bengal were firmly with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, reported News18. “Today, two of 221 MLAs went to BJP,” the party said. “One was a son – a step in the right direction for BJP to encourage dynastic politics.”
Trinamool Congress leader and chief whip in the state Assembly Tapas Roy said the defection was not a crisis at all, The Hindu reported. “I refuse to call it a crisis when some opportunists have switched sides,” Roy said at press conference in Kolkata. “We are keeping an eye on the situation.”
Urban Development Minister and Kolkata Mayor Firhad Hakim described the defection as a “minor crisis”, The Times of India reported. “When a ship is rocked in the face of a storm, the rats jump into the sea without knowing their fate,” Hakim said. “The same is happening now. We are sure that those who are joining the BJP are forced to do so.”
Former minister Madan Mitra and North 24 Parganas district President Jyotipriya Mullick, who were also present the press conference in Kolkata, said a number of party offices in the district have now been occupied by the BJP.
The defection will bring the Trinamool Congress’ strength in the West Bengal Assembly down to 211. However, it is far ahead of the halfway mark of 148.