A family drama entangled in Bengal election politics continues to play out with BJP MP Saumitra Khan sending his wife Sujata Mondal Khan a divorce notice yesterday, a day after she joined the Trinamool Congress. "A party that abolished Triple Talaq is asking my husband to divorce me," she lashed out on Tuesday.
Saumitra Khan and Sujata Mondal's 10-year relationship has been torn apart by their political affiliations. Sujata Mondal, 34, quit the BJP on Monday and joined the Trinamool Congress, flowing against the tide of defections from Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's party in the bitter lead-in to the Bengal election four months away.
Saumitra Khan, 40, fighting tears in a dramatic press conference immediately afterwards, asked his wife to drop his last name and accused her of betrayal. Yesterday, he made good his threat to file for divorce and end their four-year marriage.
Sujata Mondal had helped her husband win last year's Lok Sabha election after he was barred from entering his constituency as a condition for bail in a criminal case.
She hit out at her former party and accused BJP leaders of instigating her husband. She also questioned why no one in the BJP had tried to talk him out of divorce.
"When politics enter your personal lives, it becomes bad for the relationship. Saumitra is in the company of bad people from BJP who are trying to instigate him against me. The party that abolished Triple Talaq is asking Saumitra to divorce me today," she told news agency ANI.
She said she had quit the BJP because she felt unacknowledged and neglected after "sacrificing" so much for her husband.
"I don't know how I am getting divorce notice. How my husband who is an MP of BJP and president of its Yuva Morcha was talking about giving me a divorce in an open press meet. This is the same party which is against Triple Talaq. And the MP of that party is giving me divorce only because I am changing my party," said Ms Mondal, saying she "still loved" her husband.
"I was always a dedicated person when I was with BJP. I was dedicated to them and the same is with Trinamool now. In Trinamool whatever direction is given to me by the party's top leadership, I will follow that."
Saumitra Khan's divorce notice said he wanted to end the marriage as he and his family were subjected to "mental and emotional torture" beyond tolerance.