Chandan Mitra, the former Member of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha who recently quit the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), joined Trinamool Congress (TMC) at a mega rally in Kolkata on Saturday (21 July) in the presence of party chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Mitra, a journalist-turned-politician, was among four who joined the party which has 34 MPs in the Lok Sabha. The other three are former CPI(M) MP Moinul Hasan, Congress’s Sabina Yasmin and Mizoram advocate-general Biswajit Deb.

The two-time Rajya Sabha MP reportedly quit the BJP on 17 July after a long period of differences with the party. Though Mitra remained tight-lipped, speculations were rife that he would join the TMC. His

According to experts, the 62-year-old Mitra’s arrival in the TMC camp is a major boost to the Mamata Banerjee-led party ahead of the crucial Lok Sabha elections in 2019.

Mitra started his journalistic career with The Statesman and is currently the editor of The Pioneer. Considered close to LK Advani, Mitra is believed to have been unhappy with his sidelining by the Modi-Shah nexus.

Even while he was a member of the BJP, Mitra didn’t shy away from criticising the party on policy issues. He was previously trolled on Twitter by supporters of the saffron party after he termed BJP’s online warriors as “those with nothing better to do”.

Nominated to the Rajya Sabha twice — in 2003 and 2016 – Mitra contested from the Hooghly Lok Sabha constituency in West Bengal on a BJP ticket in 2014 but lost to a Trinamool Congress candidate.

On Saturday, Mamata Banerjee addressed a rally to mark her party-organised ‘Shahid Dibas’, or martyr’s day, to commemorate the 1993 firing outside Victoria House in the heart of Kolkata during the Left Front regime.

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