Sujata Mondal Khan, the wife of Bharatiya Janata Party MP Saumitra Khan, joined the Trinamool Congress in West Bengal on Monday, PTI reported. Saumitra Khan is the president of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha and Member of Parliament from Bishnupur constituency in the state.
Sujata Khan joined the TMC in the presence of party leader Saugata Roy and spokesperson Kunal Ghosh in Kolkata.
Khan said she was leaving the saffron camp because she did not get the recognition she deserved “even after taking several risks” to get her husband elected in the 2019 general election. The former BJP member alleged that “newly inducted, misfit and corrupt leaders” were getting more importance than the loyal ones.
“Despite enduring physical attacks, sacrificing so much to get my husband elected to Parliament, I got nothing in return,” she said. “I want to work under our beloved leader Mamata Banerjee and our dada Abhisek Banerjee.”
“I want to breathe,” Sujata Khan added, according to NDTV. “I want respect. I want to be an able leader of an able party. I want to work with my beloved didi.”
Asked about the reaction of her husband, she said it was up to him to decide his future course of action. “I hope he would realise one day...Who knows he might be back in the TMC one day,” the newly inducted leader of the Bengal’s ruling party said.
Soon after, Khan said he will file for a divorce to end his 10-year relationship, reported PTI. He also urged her not to use his surname anymore.
“You are being used by some people who did not hesitate to create rift between a husband and wife who stood by each other during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections,” he said at a press conference. “Yes, you were my pillar during the Bishnupur Lok sabha campaign. However, please don’t forget I had won by 6,58,000 votes and this margin was made possible because of my party, because of my reputation in the area.”
Khan broke down during the media briefing. He said “politics had ended his marriage”, according to NDTV. “I will now work harder for the BJP,” he added.
Khan said his wife owed her popularity to the BJP and to him. “You have come this far as you had chanted Jai Shree Ram, chanted in favour of [Narendra] Modi ji, as you were the wife of Saumitra Khan,” he said. “Please refrain from using ‘Khan’ surname hereafter; please don’t refer to yourself as Saumitra Khan’s wife. I am giving you all the freedom to chart your own political destiny. But please don’t forget you are siding with those who had attacked your parents’ residence in 2019 after I joined the BJP.”
Meanwhile, Sujata Khan after joining the party also made a veiled reference to former Trinamool Congress leader Suvendu Adhikari, saying she was “not an opportunist like others”, reported The Indian Express. She further criticised BJP’s intra-party organisational strategy and said that they had “failed to find a face in Bengal”.
“I was with the BJP when it was zero and gifted them a difficult seat like Bishnupur,” she added. “Now, the same party is giving importance to corrupt leaders rejected by the TMC, and those who have fought for the party in difficult times have been sidelined.”
A former TMC heavyweight, Adhikari crossed over to the saffron camp along with 23 others in presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday. At a mega rally in Midnapore district, the home minister claimed that “the tsunami of defections”, which he was witnessing in West Bengal, would leave Banerjee alone by the time elections are held in the state next year.
Adhikari resigned from all the positions he held in the Trinamool Congress on December 17. He, however, did not specify any reason, and thanked the party chairperson for “challenges and opportunities” presented to him.