Former Railways Minister and Trinamool Congress MP Dinesh Trivedi on Saturday joined the Bharatiya Janata Party, becoming the latest addition to the long list of defectors ahead of the West Bengal Assembly elections.

Trivedi joined the BJP in the presence of party president JP Nadda, and Union ministers Piyush Goyal and Dharmendra Pradhan, reported PTI. Trivedi said he had been waiting for this “golden moment”.

“Family is supreme in some parties but it is people who are supreme in the BJP,” he said, lauding the saffron party. He also praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic and matters “involving neighbouring countries”.

Nadda also showered praises on the newly-inducted BJP leader, and said Trivedi was a “principled politician”. The BJP leader claimed that earlier, Trivedi was “a right person in the wrong party”, but now he was in a party that is right for him.

Trivedi resigned from his Rajya Sabha and Trinamool membership on February 12, saying he felt “suffocated” because of the violence in West Bengal, and his inability to do anything about it.

“In Bengal, we talk about icons and their ideals but what we see is contrary,” Trivedi had told PTI. “The [TMC] model of violence and corruption is not what Bengal stands for. This model will take Bengal to dark days. The state has so much potential and we can’t just let it go waste.”

The politician said he was unable to speak his mind in the Trinamool Congress, adding that there was no forum to raise his concerns.

“What triggered me was that Bengal has some of the best brains in the world and when we talk about Swami Vivekananda, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and Rabindranath Tagore and we don’t follow their ideology...we are just taking their names for the sake of it,” he had said.

Trivedi is ‘ungrateful’: TMC

Meanwhile, the Trinamool Congress called Trivedi “ungrateful” and said he has backstabbed the ruling party. “For the last so many years, he [Trivedi] did not say anything,” TMC spokesperson spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said. “Now, just before the state assembly polls, he has made complaints about the party. He is ungrateful and has betrayed people of the state.”

Trinamool Congress Lok Sabha MP Sougata Roy echoed Ghosh’s view and said, “People like Trivedi enjoy power during their tenure and leave a party at the time of elections.”

Elections in the state will be held in eight phases from March 27 to April 29. The results will be declared on May 2.

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. He resigned from all the positions he held in the Trinamool Congress on December 17, 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.

A spate of other resignations followed.

On March 2, months after quitting and then making a U-turn to join the Trinamool Congress again, Jitendra Tiwari joined the Bharatiya Janata Party. Last month, Diamond Harbour MLA Dipak Halder joined the BJP, a day after quitting Trinamool.

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.