In a blow to Congress in its stronghold Malda, 14 Congress and Left members on Monday switched over to Trinamool Congress, giving the ruling party in West Bengal control of the district’s council.

State Transport minister and TMC’s in-charge of Malda district Suvendu Adhikari told reporters that in the 38-member Malda zilla parishad, eight Left and six Congress members, including ZP sabhadhipati Sarala Murmu, joined the party during the day, while two Samajwadi Party members extended support.

Dipali Biswas, who won on CPI(M) ticket in the Assembly poll, and a zilla parishad member had joined TMC last month.

He said that those who joined TMC did not support the "unethical alliance" between Congress and Left during the last Assembly election.

"They have also been inspired by the development works undertaken by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee," he said.

Monday’s development is significant as TMC drew a blank in Malda in the last Assembly poll, held only about three months ago.

Congress also faced a serious challenge to defend its zilla parishad in neighbouring Murshidabad district as eight of its members, one of CPI(M) and another from AIFB had recently joined TMC taking the number of TMC zilla parishad members to 29 in the 70-member council.

State Congress president and MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury hailed from Murshidabad district.

Adhikari had earlier claimed that within the next few months his party would take control of Murshidabad and Malda zilla parishads.