Bengal election: Denied tickets, 5 sitting TMC MLAs join BJPLast updated on Mar 08, 2021, 07:41 pm
Ahead of the Assembly elections in West Bengal, five sitting MLAs of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The development comes as another blow to the TMC, which has seen a string of resignations in the recent past, including that of party heavyweight Suvendu Adhikari.
Adhikari will notably contest against Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee from Nandigram on a BJP ticket.
Sonali Guha, Swarala Murmu among those who joined BJP
On Monday, TMC MLAs Sonali Guha, Sital Sardar, Dipendu Biswas, Rabindranath Bhattacharya, and Jatu Lahiri joined the BJP in Kolkata.
Former TMC leader Swarala Murmu also joined the BJP on Monday, mere hours after her candidature was dropped citing "ill health." Murmu was earlier slated to contest from the Habibpur constituency.
Last week, the TMC had released its first list of poll candidates.
Pradip Bhaskar replaces Murmu as TMC's Habibpur candidate
The TMC on Monday decided to replace Murmu with Pradip Bhaskar as the candidate from Habibpur.
The party said Murmu was replaced over "ill health."
Sources told India Today that Murmu had originally wanted to contest the election from Malda, however, the TMC decided to field her from Habibpur.
Murmu had reportedly tried to arrange a meeting with Banerjee to request a change.
Others were also denied TMC tickets
Sonali Guha, a four-time TMC MLA from Satgachia, was once a close aide of Banerjee.
On Saturday, she hinted at joining the BJP after Friday's list of poll candidates did not feature her name.
Bhattacharjee, who played a pivotal role in the Singur land acquisition movement in 2007, was denied a ticket because he is 85.
Lahiri, 84, was also denied a ticket.
'I have been insulted,' says Lahiri
Lahiri told India Today, "I was not informed and my name was not on the list. Just because of my age? I can still walk steadily on my own. I have been insulted."
"I get respect (in the BJP) and hence I am here. The day I don't get respect, I will go," Lahiri said, adding that a "person who is dishonest cannot prosper."
When will elections be held in West Bengal?
The West Bengal elections will be held in eight phases: March 27 (to be held in 30 constituencies), April 1 (30), April 6 (31), April 10 (44), April 17 (45), April 22 (43), April 26 (36), and April 29 (35).
Elections will be held across 1,01,916 polling stations.
The term of the Assembly ends May 30, 2021. Votes will be counted on May 2.