Reality check: Nearly one-third of BJP MLAs in Bengal defected from other parties
The Bharatiya Janata Party won 77 of the 292 seats in the recently concluded Assembly elections in West Bengal, way below the expectations of the party that was eying to wrest power from the ruling Trinamool Congress in the state.But there is more that might bother the saffron
Kolkata : The Bharatiya Janata Party won 77 of the 292 seats in the recently concluded Assembly elections in West Bengal, way below the expectations of the party that was eying to wrest power from the ruling Trinamool Congress in the state.But there is more that might bother the saffron brigade, which used all its resources in the run-up to the high-octane elections in its bid to breach the Trinamool citadel in Bengal.A closer look into the winning seats of the BJP shows that nearly one-third of the party MLAs who made it to the state Assembly owed their political existence to other political parties before jumping ship to the saffron camp.A lot has been said about Suvendu Adhikari, Nisith Pramanik and Mihir Goswami, who successfully retained their fort even after changing camps.Adhikari was even more appreciated because he single-handedly dwarfed the mighty Mamata Banerjee, who was successful in retaining power in the state, but failed to combat son of the soil Adhikari in Nandigram, where she lost to her one-time close aide by a slender margin of 1,953 votes.There are 18 more MLAs — bulk of them who defected to the BJP from the Trinamool Congress — who successfully retained their mass support even after changing their political ideology.A close analysis of the winning BJP MLAs shows that 14 BJP candidates who won this time came from the Trinamool, including some big names like Adhikari in Nandigram, Pramanik in Dinhata, Goswami in Natabri and Mukul Roy in Krishnanagr North.There are six more MLAs, including two former ministers in the erstwhile Left Front government in the state, who won on a BJP ticket this time. One came from the Congress while another one joined the BJP from the Gorkha National Liberal Front (GNLF).The big names who came from the Trinamool and won on BJP tickets include Satyendra Nath Roy from Gangarampur in South Dinajpur, a former Trinamool minister, Tanmoy Ghosh from Bishnupur, Sreerupa Mitra Chowdhury from English Bazar and Sikha Cahtterjee from Dabgram Phulbari in North Bengal.Chatterjee defeated the all-powerful state Tourism Minster Goutam Deb in the elections.
Mukul Roy, who is considered to be a master political strategist and was the second in command in Trinamool, switched over to the BJP years back but he never contested any election. In the recent polls, Roy won from the Krishnanagar North constituency.Pawan Singh, who won from the Bhatpara constituency in North 24 Parganas, switched over to the BJP from Trinamool along with his father Arjun Singh, who is also a BJP MP form North 24 Parganas.The list of Trinamool turncoats who won on a BJP ticket this time also includes Biswajit Das from Bagda, Subrata Moitra from Berhampur, Tanmoy Ghosh from Bishnupur, and Partha Sarathi Chatterjee from Ranaghat NorthWest.Apart from these, there are six other BJP MLAs who switched camps form the Left Front including two ministers in the former Left Front ministry.Bamkim Ghosh — a former CPM legislature and a minister in the Left Front government — switched over to the BJP and won the election form Chakdah in Hooghly district.Similarly, Narahari Mahato — a major Forward Block leader in the tribal belt and a minister in the Left Front government — won from the Joypur Assembly constituency in Purulia district.Former Forward Block members Biswanth Karak won from Goghat, Tapasi Mondal won from Haldia, ex-RSP man Monoj Orao won from Kumarganj while former CPM leader Sankar Ghosh won from Siliguri all on a BJP ticket this time.Interestingly, Ashoke Lahiri, who was appointed CEA by the Government of India in 2002 during the prime ministership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and continued even when Manmohan Singh took the reins of the country, won from Balurghat.Lahiri never had any political background and was projected as the finance minster if BJP came to power.Similarly, actor-turned-politician Hiran, who won from Kharagpur Sadar, also didn’t have any political allegiance before.