Another BJP MLA has switched sides in Bengal and joined the state's ruling Trinamool Congress. Suman Kanjilal is the sixth BJP MLA to do so after the 2021 assembly elections. The BJP now has 69 MLAs in Bengal, down from the 77 seats it won in the 2021 elections, which the Trinamool swept.
Mr Kanjilal, MLA from Alipurduar in north Bengal, joined Trinamool today after meeting the party's national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee in Kolkata. North Bengal is one of the areas of the state where the BJP has made inroads and poses a tough challenge to the ruling party.
The Trinamool Congress tweeted: "Rejecting the anti-people policies & hate-laden agenda of @BJP4India, Shri Suman Kanjilal joined the AITC family today, in the presence of our National General Secretary Shri @abhishekaitc. Yet another @BJP4Bengal MLA realises the truth that BJP has no intention to serve people!"
"Are you scared of the 10th Schedule of the Indian Constitution (anti-defection law)? Not handing over TMC flag? Because, inside Vidhan Sabha, as in the case of Mukul Roy, TMC Owner labelled him as BJP; Suman Kanjilal would also claim that he belongs to the BJP Legislative Party," shot back BJP's Suvendu Adhikari, who is also the Leader of Opposition in West Bengal, on Twitter.
TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh weighed in: "Before tweeting this to public, please go home first, and tell this theory of anti-defection law to your father and brother. Also accept the fact that MLAs of BJP have no trust on BJP and LOP. This is failure of opportunist betrayer Suvendu Adhikari also."
Before tweeting this to public, please go home first, and tell this theory of anti defection law to your father and brother. Also accept the fact that MLAs of BJP have no trust on BJP and LOP. This is failure of opportunist betrayer Suvendu Adhikari also. https://t.co/CNOE4SRNKc— Kunal Ghosh (@KunalGhoshAgain) February 5, 2023
Suvendu Adhikari's father and brother are Trinamool MPs who lean towards the BJP but have not quit their seats. On several occasions, they have defied party whips.
The Trinamool Congress has written to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, asking him to disqualify Sisir Adhikari, Suvendu Adhikari's father and the MP from Kanthi. But the Speaker has not taken action so far.