After regular attacks on West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee for inducting former Maoist leader Chatradhar Mahato into TMC, Dilip Ghosh has taken a sharp U-turn.

Ghosh, BJP state president in West Bengal, on Monday asked Mahato to leave TMC and join the saffron party. He said that Banerjee had “fooled” the Jongolmohol leader, adding that BJP will give him “respect”, reported Bengali daily Anandabazar Patrika.

“I’m saying this to Chatradhar Mahato, the person you fought for had sent you to prison. Now for electoral interest, she has released and made you the state secretary (of TMC) and given your wife a job. Don’t forget, didimoni had fooled you. She’s fooling the population of entire state,” the Bengali daily quoted Ghosh as saying.

“You (Mamata Banerjee) have betrayed us. The Adivasi-Mahato community will not forget that. Come, BJP will give you respect. We do as we say,” the Midnapore MP added.

The call from Ghosh is a surprising development in the politics of West Bengal, which is gearing up for the Assembly Elections in early 2021.

Mahato, the leader from Lalgarh was arrested in 2009 in a covert operation by the West Bengal police. He went on to spend 11 years behind the bars before he was released in February earlier this year.

Soon after he was out of the prison, Mamata Banerjee officially inducted the once-face of Maoist movement in Bengal. She included him in TMC’s election committee and also made him a state secretary in the party.

BJP’s Ghosh had strongly condemned the move by the West Bengal’s ruling party and said TMC was using “former Naxalis” because it got scared by BJP’s immense success in the Jongolmohol region during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

“Mamata Banerjee is afraid of the growing base of the BJP across West Bengal. Earlier, she is used to saying Junglemahal is smiling and suddenly stopped commenting after a complete whitewash in the last Lok Sabha polls in Junglemahal,” HW News had quoted Ghosh as saying earlier this year.

“I want to make everything very clear that neither Maoists nor the TMC would be able to stop the BJP in West Bengal.”

Apart from Ghosh, heavyweight BJP leaders Kailash Vijayvargiya and Mukul Roy had also criticised TMC for inducting a “wanted Maoist” leader and said that people would not forget the role played by Chatradhar in the Jnaneswari Express derailment case.

“TMC has released a Maoist on bail and placed him at a respectable position. The one who was wanted in the police diary is being escorted by police now. And he is forcefully inducting BJP workers into TMC. People of Jongolmohol will not accept this,” Vijayvargiya, BJP’s national general secretary and chief convener in West Bengal, had said in September this year.