West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said that her party, the Trinamool Congress (TMC), will not be weakened by the switching of top TMC leaders to the BJP. On Monday, Sunil Singh, the TMC MLA from Nowpara had joined the BJP along with 12 TMC Councillors in New Delhi in the presence of BJP leaders Kailash Vijayvargiya and Mukul Roy.

“TMC is not a weak party. I don’t care if 15-20 councillors leave the party after accepting cash. If party MLAs want to leave they can. We don’t want thieves in our party. If one person leaves I will prepare 500 more,” said Banerjee in Kolkata.

The TMC has witnessed a number of desertions since the party’s below-par performance in the recently concluded general elections. On May 28, four TMC MLAs had joined the BJP.

Subhrangshu Roy, the TMC MLA from Bijpur in North 24-Parganas district and the son of senior BJP leader Mukul Roy, who had resigned from the TMC in September 2017, led the group that had joined the BJP on May 28.

BJP National General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya had on May 28 announced that such joinings will continue in future also. On May 29, TMC MLAs Manirul Islam, Gadadhar Hazra, Mohd Asif Iqbal and Nimai Das had joined the BJP in New Delhi.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in an election rally in Serampore, had claimed that 40 MLAs of Mamata Banerjee’s party were in touch with him and many of them would leave the Trinamool Congress after May 23, when Lok Sabha election results were announced.

The BJP came up with a stunning performance, capturing 18 of the state’s 42 Lok Sabha seats as against only two it won in 2014. The Trinamool, which had bagged a whopping 34 seats in 2014, saw its tally plunging to 22.