KOLKATA: Raiganj’s BJP MLA Krishna Kalyani joined the Trinamool Congress on Wednesday.
Kalyani is the fifth BJP legislator in West Bengal to join the TMC after winning the assembly elections earlier this year, in a major setback to the opposition party.
He is the former North Dinajpur district president of the TMC who joined the BJP ahead of the assembly elections and was fielded from Raiganj.
Kalyan, who has been at odds for quite some time with former Union minister Debasree Choudhury over running the BJP’s affairs in the North Dinajpur district, was welcomed to the TMC by its secretary-general and senior state minister Partha Chatterjee.
“No self-respecting person can work freely in the BJP,” Kalyani told reporters at the TMC headquarters here.
He said he was also upset with the “anti-people policies” of the Centre, which has not taken a single step to check spiralling fuel prices.
“I was increasingly thinking that I cannot be a part of BJP anymore. If I had not spoken in favour of Mamata Banerjee’s welfare policies before the assembly polls, I had made a mistake that I want to correct now,” he said.
“If someone wants to do good work as an MLA he is not allowed to do that in the BJP,” he alleged.
Reacting to the development, BJP state President Sukanta Majumder said Kalyani should explain that how he suddenly “woke up” to the policies of Mamata Banerjee.
“Kalyani will get a befitting reply from the people of Raiganj in the future,” Majumder said, adding that he joined TMC to serve his personal interest.
Kalyani had quit the BJP earlier this month but did not resign as an MLA.
Earlier, BJP’s Krishnanagar Uttar MLA Mukul Roy, Bishnupur MLA Tanmay Ghosh, Bagdah MLA Biswajit Das and Kaliaganj MLA Soumen Roy joined the TMC, besides Asansol MP Babul Supriyo.
The MLAs are yet to resign from the assembly or to be disqualified under the anti-defection law, while Supriyo has put in the papers.
BJP had won 77 seats in the assembly elections with two of the legislators — Dinhata MLA Nisith Pramanik and Santipur MLA Jagannath Sarkar — later resigning to retain their MP seats.
TMC had won 213 seats in the assembly elections in April-May and bagged the Samserganj and Janipur seats earlier this month, taking its tally to 215 in the 294-member House.