Kolkata: Former Kolkata mayor and Trinamool Congress MLA Sovan Chatterjee joined the Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday.
Sovan, a former minister of the Mamata Banerjee government, joined the party in the presence of its senior West Bengal leader Mukul Roy and its general secretary Arun Singh. Mukul too joined BJP after a long leadership stint at TMC.
— BJP (@BJP4India) August 14, 2019
Welcoming Sovan, Mukul said he was one of those leaders who had made a big contribution to Mamata’s rise to the post of chief minister. “He will now strengthen the BJP… Let me repeat that TMC will not even get the status of the opposition party,” he told reporters.
Differences between Sovan and Mamata, which had been simmering for a while, rose to the forefront following much publicised problems in the former’s personal life. The chief minister had openly admonished the then mayor, asking him to take his ‘responsibilities’ seriously.
In late November last year, Sovan quit as Kolkata mayor and was replaced by TMC’s Firhad Hakim.
Sovan had made frequent trips to Delhi in the days leading up to his joining BJP. His associate Dr Baishakhi Banerjee also joined BJP.
Six TMC MLAs, and one each of Congress and CPI(M) have switched over to BJP since the results of Lok Sabha polls were announced in May, with the saffron party wooing rival party leaders to bolster its strength in the run up to the next assembly polls in the state, due in 2021.
The BJP made deep inroads in West Bengal in the Lok Sabha polls by winning 18 out of the 42 Lok Sabha seats, just four less than the TMC.
(With PTI inputs)