- Leading up to Bengal polls, Trinamool leaders defected to BJP
- Reverse migration is the new trend with them wanting to return
- Biggest names doing the rounds are that of Rajib Banerjee, Mukul Roy
One of the biggest challenges faced by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in the months leading up to the state election was the massive exodus of her party's leaders to the BJP. The constant stream reinforced talk of the Trinamool Congress's collapse.
But on May 2, Mamata Banerjee scored a victory and stunned all by the scale of it. The Trinamool Congress won 213 of 292 assembly seats -- the BJP bagged 77.
Now, reverse migration is the new trend with a rising number of Trinamool defectors in the BJP seeking re-entry into Ms Banerjee's party.
Former MLA Sonali Guha, for instance, now feels like "fish out of water" after having left the Trinamool in March. Footballer-turned-politician Dipendu Biswas wrote to Ms Banerjee today saying he wants to "take the TMC flag again". Other such names include Sarala Murmu and Amal Acharya, according to a PTI report.
There is even buzz of Rajib Banerjee, a minister in Ms Banerjee's government till weeks before the polls, considering a return.
"Not only leaders, seven-to-eight winning MLAs and 3-4 sitting MPs of the BJP have expressed their wish to join the Trinamool Congress," Trinamool spokesperson Kunal Ghosh told NDTV. He refused to comment any further saying the party leadership has not yet taken a decision on this.
"But we have to honour the sentiments of party cadres, too. These leaders left the party just before elections and the workers and leaders managed to win the election under the leadership of Mamata Banerjee," Mr Ghosh said.
The biggest name doing the rounds among those looking to trace their path back to the TMC is that of Mukul Roy. One of the earliest Trinamool leaders to have abandoned Ms Banerjee, his son has now made a Facebook post perceived to be critical of the BJP. The senior leader himself has not said a word on the matter, though.
The BJP has, however, dismissed reports of such a move on Mr Roy's part.
"There was a perception that the BJP is coming to power and the Trinamool will lose power. A lot of people joined our party crying and now they are leaving laughing. People are watching this. People can see why they came to us and why they are leaving," said West Bengal BJP leader Shamik Bhattacharya.
While only a few leaders have openly expressed such a desire till now, most big names have remained silent.