Sonali Guha, who was among the Trinamool Congress (TMC) leaders to defect to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ahead of the March-April assembly polls, on Saturday regretted her decision and said she wants to return to West Bengal’s ruling party. In a tweet tagging chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who swept back to power this month, Guha said her decision to join the BJP was wrong.
Dipendu Biswas, another former TMC leader, earlier this week quit the BJP. A former TMC civic body chief in Cooch Behar district, who joined the BJP before the polls, has also quit the party.
Guha is a four-time lawmaker while Biswas, a former Indian football captain, has also been a member of the legislative assembly once. The two joined the BJP in March this year.
“Just like a fish cannot survive out of the water, I cannot survive without Mamata Banerjee. I was getting suffocated in BJP. I am severing all ties with the BJP and would join the TMC whenever Didi [Banerjee] calls me,” Guha told reporters.
Biswas has not announced his political future plans and said he is concentrating on football.
“This is the time to fight Covid-19. But two senior ministers were arrested by the CBI [Central Bureau of Investigation] at this time. I could not take this and hence I quit the party [BJP],” he said.
Some Tollywood actors, who joined the BJP ahead of the elections, have also raised their voices against the arrest of TMC leaders amid the pandemic.
The CBI arrested three TMC legislators, including two Cabinet ministers, and a former mayor on corruption charges related to the 2016 Narada sting operation case.
The BJP has maintained that the party has nothing to do with the arrests and said the law was taking its own course in the case.
It has also downplayed the exits. “I am not aware if anyone has quit. Many people, including leaders, have joined the party. To quit is an individual’s decision. Our party workers are under attack. Those who can fight back will stay,” said Dilip Ghosh, the BJP’s Bengal chief.
A TMC leader said quite a few former TMC leaders, who earlier joined the BJP, have now got in touch with them once again even though the ruling party has clarified that it has not been decided yet whether the turncoats would be allowed to return.
Over two dozen TMC legislators have joined the BJP since 2019. At least 19 of them were given tickets to contest the 2021 assembly polls. A BJP worker said that if the number of actors or other personalities is added to this list, 149 out of 292 tickets went to those without roots in the party.
Kunal Ghosh, a TMC spokesman, refused to comment as the party has not taken any decision on whether or not to take back those who had left the party in adverse times. “The BJP inducted many leaders beating drums ahead of the elections. Many now want to quit, I have heard.”