IN JULY, WEST BENGAL Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee sounded a clarion call for those who had quit the ruling Trinamool Congress and joined the opposition BJP. “Outsiders won’t rule Bengal,” she said in a virtual rally, invoking Bengali pride against what she implied was a party of Gujaratis led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
Her speech apparently struck a chord. A good number of deserters heeded her call and returned to the Trinamool fold. Interestingly, so did scores of disgruntled BJP workers and mid-level leaders—many of them with an RSS background.
Around 100 former saffron supporters have already pledged support to Mamata in the assembly polls due next year. More are expected to follow suit. Prominent among those who have joined the Trinamool is Krishanu Mitra, a former saffron ideologue who was inducted into the party by Partha Chatterjee, the state’s education minister. “Mitra has three decades of experience in the RSS and the BJP. He will try to work with us now,” said Chatterjee at the induction ceremony.
A former BJP spokesperson, Mitra had been side-lined since 2016. According to him, the BJP has turned anti-Bengali. “It is trying to import something that is not part of this soil,” he said. More than a dozen BJP workers in Kolkata, North 24 Parganas and Midnapore have followed in his footsteps and joined the Trinamool.
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November 01, 2020