Former West Bengal minister Rajib Banerjee, who had switched over to the BJP and contested assembly polls from that party, met TMC state general secretary Kunal Ghosh on Saturday amid speculation of return to his old party.
Banerjee, who unsuccessfully contested the polls on a BJP ticket from Domjur seat, went to Ghosh’s residence in the northern part of the city where the two had a prolonged discussion, party sources said. The development comes a day after BJP national vice president Mukul Roy came back to Trinamool Congress in the presence of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Ghosh later told reporters that it was a courtesy meeting. Rajib Banerjee had recently skipped a meeting of the Bengal BJP and warned members of the saffron party over a social media post that “people will not take kindly to threats of Presidents rule against a government elected with a huge mandate”.
After quitting the TMC in January, Banerjee had claimed that he was forced to do so as a section of party leaders “humiliated him for airing his grievances over their style of functioning”.
He had served as minister in the TMC government both in 2011 and 2016. Meanwhile, two former MLAs from Birbhum district, Monirul Islam and Gadadhar Hajra, who had joined the BJP from the Trinamul Congress after the 2019 Lok Sabha polls at the behest of the then BJP leader Mukul Roy, are keen to return to their old party and have contacted the party leadership.
They did not receive BJP tickets for the just-concluded Assembly polls in Bengal and did not contest. Yesterday, Mukul Roy along with his son Subhrangshu joined the TMC and after their “ghar wapsi”, speculation is rife in Birbhum district that his two close associates and former MLAs ~ Monirul Islam and Gadadhar Hajra ~ will also soon join their former party.
However, TMC district president of Birbhum, Anubrata Mondal, who has commented on the issue of Mukul Roy’s return, has so far remained silent on the issue of the duo rejoining the party.
Asif Iqbal, son of Monirul Islam is also willing to join the TMC leaving the BJP, sources said. Asif had been even made a permanent member of the State Yuva Morcha. However due to stiff resistance from the state leadership both Gadadhar Hajra and Monirul Islam have not been given prominent positions in the BJP since joining the party in New Delhi two years back.
Political observers feel that if these three along with other senior party leaders return to the TMC, then before the upcoming civic election and polls to the three-tier gram panchayats in the state, the BJP will receive a big jolt that will further weaken BJP’s Birbhum district unit.
Already a large number of BJP supporters who have joined the party before the Assembly polls have returned to the Trinamul Congress and joined the party in the presence of Anubrata Mondal in Birbhum. Even, some supporters have expressed their willingness to rejoin the TMC and conveyed their wishes using public address systems riding totos in Birbhum district.