Two-time MLA Dipak Halder joined the Bharatiya Janata Party at a rally in the South 24 Parganas district of West Bengal on Tuesday, a day after quitting the ruling Trinamool Congress, reported NDTV. Halder claimed that he left the party because he was not allowed to work.

“Since 2017, I am not allowed to work properly for the masses,” Halder said, according to News18. “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. So I have decided to quit the party.”

The MLA from Diamond Harbour also accused the TMC leadership of harassing him and his family. “Just because of differences with me, my family members were also harassed,” Halder alleged. “Why should I tolerate this humiliation? I don’t deserve this.”

He said that he was not resigning as an MLA as he was committed to the people of his constituency. Halder had been speaking against the party for the past few months. He is considered close to BJP leader Sovan Chatterjee, who was earlier with the TMC. Halder had recently met Chatterjee at his residence.

The TMC, however, claimed that Halder quit because he was not being given a ticket for the upcoming polls due to his non-performance as an MLA. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had also said that many were leaving the party because of election tickets and the party was not worried about them. The state will go to polls this year.

Halder is the latest among a spate of TMC leaders who have crossed over to the saffron party. Since the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, 17 TMC MLAs and one MP, three Congress and one each from the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Communist Party of India have joined the BJP.

Political turmoil began for the TMC after former state minister and a close associate of Mamata Banerjee, Suvendu Adhikari, quit the party in December. After a long drawn period of public dissatisfaction with the ruling TMC, Adhikari joined the BJP during Shah’s two-day visit to West Bengal on December 19. Earlier, he resigned from all the positions he held in the Trinamool Congress on December 17. This came a day after he resigned as a member of the Legislative Assembly and almost 20 days after he resigned as West Bengal transport minister. He had quit from the post of chairperson of the Hooghly River Bridge Commissioners too.

On January 31, former West Bengal minister Rajib Banerjee joined the BJP along with MLAs Prabir Ghosal and Baishali Dalmiya, former Howrah Mayor Rathin Chakraborty and actor Rudranil Ghosh.

On January 5, West Bengal Minister of State for Youth Services and Sports Laxmi Ratan Shukla resigned from his post. He will, however, continue as an MLA.