Former president Pranab Mukherjee's son Abhijit Mukherjee today joined the Trinamool Congress, ending weeks of speculation and denial by him.
"The way Mamata Banerjee halted the recent communal wave by BJP, I believe that in the future, with the support of others, she would be able to do the same in the entire country," said Abhijit Mukherjee, in his first comments after joining the Trinamool.
A former Congress MP from Jangipur and an MLA from Nalhati, Trinamool may offer Mr Mukherjee the Jangipur assembly seat which is due a bypoll as a candidate there had passed away just before the elections.
Abhijit Mukherjee's father Pranab Mukherjee won the Jangipur parliamentary constituency in Bengal's Murshidabad district twice as a Congress MP till he vacated it in 2012 to run for President.
The Congress, which fought the Bengal elections in partnership with the Left, was decimated. The party got zero seats; the Left too failed to win any seat.
Rumours of Mr Mukherjee's exit gathered pace after Jitin Prasada, Congress's top Brahmin face in UP, vaulted to the BJP.
"I remain in the Congress and reports that I am joining Trinamool or any other party are not correct," Mr Mukherjee, a former Lok Sabha MP and Congress Campaign Committee chairman during the Bengal elections, was quoted saying by news agency PTI soon after Mr Prasada switched camps.
Mr Prasada is the second high-profile Rahul Gandhi aide to move to the BJP after Jyotiraditya Scindia left last year.
A group of dissenting leaders in the Congress have been pressing for widespread reforms across all levels of the organisation.
Abhijit Mukherjee won bypolls in the Jangipur parliamentary constituency after his father vacated the seat in 2012; he won it again in 2014. He lost to the Trinamool's Khalilur Rahman in 2019.
Recently, Mukul Roy, along with son Shubhranshu, returned to his parent party, Trinamool, after a stint in the BJP.
"More will come", Mamata Banerjee had quipped at the time.