Six Tripura MLAs, who were sacked by the Trinamool Congress and voted for NDA nominee Ram Nath Kovind in the presidential election, today formally joined the BJP. The six legislators, led by former leader of the opposition (Congress) in the Tripura Assembly Sudip Roy Burman, were welcomed into the saffron party by Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan, the party's North-East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) convener Himanta Biswa Sarma, state BJP chief Biplab Kumar Deb and state party observer Sunil Deodhar. Besides Roy Burman, the other MLAs are Ashish Kumar Saha, Diba Chandra Hrangkhawl, Biswa Bandhu Sen, Pranjit Singha Roy and Dilip Sarkar. The MLAs had met BJP president Amit Shah in Delhi on August 5. On July 3, TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee had said the party would have no relations with the six MLAs. The six legislators had quit the Congress and joined the TMC in protest against the Congress' electoral tie-up with the Left, ahead of the 2016 West Bengal Assembly election. In the run-up to the presidential poll, the MLAs had announced that they would not vote for a candidate supported by the CPI(M) and were sacked by the TMC. Burman in his speech pledged to oust the "repressive and fascist" Manik Sarkar government. "When Congress betrayed us in our movement to oust the Left Front government, we thought TMC Supremo Mamata Banerjee would help us in our mission.
But we found that she became close to Sonia Gandhi and Sitaram Yechury," he said. "Had we been in TMC, it would have been comfortable for CPI-M to divide the opposition and remain in power. We did not want to give them this opportunity," he added. Pradhan said law and order has completely collapsed in Tripura and crime against women has gone up. "The LF government has no right to remain in power even for a moment." Tripura, he said, is rich in natural resources like natural gas and could become self reliant but has remained poor and dependent due to its government's inefficiency. Sarma said with the six MLAs joining BJP "the last nail in the coffin of the Left Front government in Tripura has been struck". Exuding confidence that BJP would form the government in the state after the assembly elections slated for February next, he said "Development of the state would then be taken up with the blessings of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who wants to convert the Northeast into a developed region." In his speech, Deb expressed confidence that BJP would win the 2018 assembly poll in the state.
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