Trinamool turncoats fail to lift BJP in Bengal


The Trinamool Congress is poised to retain power in West Bengal for a third straight term, especially after the chances of the main opposition BJP were badly dented by the dismal performance of some of its candidates who were given tickets after they had jumped ship from the Trinamool to the saffron party in the run-up to the high-octane Assembly elections in the state.

Apart from Suvendu Adhikari, whose fate hangs in balance in Nandigram against Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, all the other Trinamool leaders who had joined the BJP just before the polls suffered defeat.

Of the 34 Trinamool leaders who had joined the BJP, 13 were given tickets and the majority of them lost, including heavyweights like Rajib Banerjee, Sabyasachi Dutta and Rabindranath Bhattacharjee.

Rajib Banerjee, a former minister in Mamata Banerjee’s cabinet who had defected to the BJP in January this, year lost to Trinamool’s Kalyanendu Ghosh by a margin of 42,512 votes from Domjur in Howrah district. He was elected twice from the same constituency in 2011 and 2016, but on a Trinamool ticket.

Interestingly enough, Singur was much hyped in this election where the saffron brigade had fielded Rabindranath Bahttacharya — a school teacher who fought the land reforms movement in Singur and was a part of the Mamata Banerjee government.

The veteran leader was pitted against Mamata loyalist Becharam Manna, who defeated Bhattacharyay by a margin of 25,933 votes.

Jitendra Tiwari, another former Trinamool heavyweight who joined the BJP after rebelling against the party leadership, lost to Narendranath Chakraborty from Pandabeshwar in West Burdwan district.

Similarly, Baishali Dalmiya, who was expelled from the Trinamool for speaking out against the party, lost against Rana Chatterjee of the Trinamool by a margin of 6,231votes from the Bally constituency in Howrah district.

Sabyasachi Dutta, who had joined the BJP in October 2019, lost to Trinamool’s Sujit Bose from the Bidhanagar seat by 7,997 votes.

Two-time MLA Dipak Halder, who had joined the BJP in February, lost to Pannalal Halder of the Trinamool from the Diamond Harbour constituency in South 24 Parganas district.

Actor Rudranil Ghosh, who had joined the saffron brigade a few months ago, lost to Trinamool’s Sovandeb Chattopadhyay from the Bhowanipore seat. Ghosh was known to be a vocal supporter of Trinamool and had served in several positions in Mamata Banerjee’s administration.

Pradip Mazumdar of the Trinamool defeated Diptangshu Chowdhury, another former Trinamool leader and ex-advisor to Mamata Banerjee, in the Durgapur Purba seat. Chowdhury had defected to the BJP a few months before the polls.

Prabir Ghosal, another defector, lost to Trinamool’s Kanchan Mallick in the Uttarpara constituency in Hooghly district.

Somnath Shyam of Trinamool defeated Arindam Bhattacharya in Jagatdal seat while Silbhadra Dutta, another, defector lost to late Kajal Sinha of Trinamool in Khardah. Sinha had succumbed to Covid-19 on April 25 after the polling was conducted in the seat.

Similarly, Deboprasad Bag of Trinamool defeated Biswajit Kundu in Kalna.

However, the Nandigram seat hangs in balance where Suvendu Adhikari is fighting against Mamata Banerjee. The Election Commission kept the counting on hold as both the parties have demanded recounting.

Adhikari, the former trusted aide of Banerjee and one of the main faces of the Nandigram movement, had joined the BJP in December last year. He had won from Nandigram in 2016 on a Trinamool ticket.

Mihir Goswami is one of the few Trinamool turncoats who tasted success in the present elections. Goswami, who had joined the BJP a few months back, won from Natabari by defeating Rabindranath Ghosh of the Trinamool.

Mukul Roy, who had joined the BJP in November 2017, also won against Trinamool’s Koushani Mukherjee from Krishnanagar North.