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TMC faces fresh spate of defections; 5 sitting MLAs, other leaders join BJP

Hours after being replaced due to 'ill health', Sarala Murmu, the TMC candidate of the Habibpur constituency in Malda district, was among those who switched sides

West Bengal Assembly polls | TMC

Press Trust of India  |  Kolkata 

Photo: ANI

The Trinamool Congress on Monday lost five more sitting MLAs and the control of the Malda Zilla Parishad to the BJP as defections continued to rock West Bengal's ruling party ahead of the assembly polls.

Four-time MLAs Sonali Guha, a close associate of supremo Mamata Banerjee for decades, and 80-year-old Rabindranath Bhattacharya, a prominent face of the Singur movement, joined the saffron party after they were denied the poll ticket.

Another four-time legislator, 85-year-old Jatu Lahiri, and former footballer Dipendu Biswas, a first-time MLA, also switched sides after their names did not feature in the TMC's candidate list released on March 5.

They were handed over party flags by BJP state president Dilip Ghosh in presence of other leaders such as Suvendu Adhikari and Mukul Roy.

One more MLA, Sital Sardar. also joined the saffron party later.

Hours after being replaced due to "ill health", Sarala Murmu, the candidate of the Habibpur constituency in Malda district, too switched sides. There was speculation earlier that she might join the BJP as she did not get the seat she had desired.

The party replaced her with Pradeep Baskey in the morning.

A number of sitting TMC MLAs, including ministers, have joined the saffron camp in recent months.

The BJP also took control of the 38-member Malda Zilla Parishad after its 22 members changed sides.

"What can be worse than their (TMC) own members feeling humiliated & eventually leaving the party? Now they're getting celebrities to fill the position. Numbers suggest that we have majority in Malda and BJP will soon have its chairman(Zilla Parishad) in the district," said West Bengal BJP Chief Dilip Ghosh.

Bengali actress Tanusree Chakraborty also joined the BJP.

Assembly elections in the state will be held in eight phases between March 27 and April 29. Votes will be counted on May 2.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Mon, March 08 2021. 18:02 IST