The Trinamool Congress is likely to give Sushmita Dev — the All India Mahila Congress chief who quit the Congress and joined the Trinamool on Monday — leadership role in Tripura and other northeastern states, top party sources said.
Trinamool leader from Tripura, Subal Bhowmik, said that Dev joining the party is a very big development which will further boost the party’s efforts to fight the ruling BJP in the state.
“Dev’s late father Santosh Mohan Dev was a tall leader of the Congress, who was instrumental in installing the Congress-led government in Tripura in 1988. Santosh Dev was elected to the Lok Sabha from Tripura twice (1989 and 1991), besides getting elected for five times from Silchar in Assam,” Bhowmik, who along with several other Congress leaders had recently jumped ship to the Trinamool, told IANS.
He claimed that Dev joining Trinamool would further strengthen the hands of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who, according to Bhowmik, is the most formidable leader to challenge Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Earlier in the day, the Trinamool said in a tweet: “We warmly welcome the former President of All India Mahila Congress Sushmita Dev to our Trinamool family! Inspired by Mamata (Banerjee), she joins us today in the presence of our National General Secretary Abhishek Banerjee and Parliamentary Party Leader, Rajya Sabha, Derek O’ Brien”.
Several photographs were tagged in Trinamool’s Twitter handle showing Banerjee welcoming Dev into the party.
After meeting Trinamool supremo Mamata Banerjee at the state secretariat Nabanna in Kolkata, Dev told the media that she would disclose her political strategy in Delhi on Tuesday.
Trinamool sources in Agartala said that party leaders, accompanied by Sushmita Dev, are likely to formally announce the party’s organisational structure in Tripura and its next course of action on Monday or Tuesday.
Meanwhile, all top Congress leaders in Assam, including its state unit chief Bhupen Borah, Rajya Sabha member Ripun Bora and opposition leader Debabrata Saikia, have expressed their pain over Dev quitting the party.
“She was a big and efficient leader of our party. She has had some frustration since the Assembly elections (in March-April). Her desertion from the party is a big setback for the Assam Congress though there are other leaders in southern Assam’s Barak Valley,” Borah said in Guwahati.
Several BJP leaders in southern Assam also expressed their surprise over the latest political development in the Bengali dominated Barak Valley comprising three districts — Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakhandhi.
“Four generations of Dev’s family were associated with the Congress. She never approached us, nor did we approach her to get her involved with the BJP,” said Rajdeep Roy, the BJP MP from Silchar.
Claiming that the Trinamool has no future in Assam, Roy told the media that the new generation of people are frustrated with the Congress leadership and its functioning.
Dev is the third important Assam Congress leader to quit the party in the past three months.
Four-time Congress legislator and prominent Assam tea garden leader Rupjyoti Kurmi and two-time Congress MLA Sushanta Borgohain had recently deserted the party and joined the BJP.