Kolkata: West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress on Friday got a shot in the arm with former state minister and one-time frontline CPI-M leader Abdur Rezzak Mollah, ex-Indian cricketer Laxmi Ratan Shukla and deceased cricket administrator Jagmohan Dalmiya’s daughter Vaishali Dalmiya joining its fold.
The troika joined Trinamool in the presence of its supremo and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at a party general council meeting here.
Mollah, a former land reforms minister, was expelled by the CPI-M in 2014 after he floated an outfit Social Justice Forum.
The veteran politician – who has won all assembly polls starting from 1972 – during his ministerial tenure in the Left Front regime openly protested against the land acquisition procedure followed in Singur in Hooghly district for the Nano car plant of Tata Motors.
In 2014, Mollah was attacked and injured in an attack, said to have been orchestrated by Trinamool leader Arabul Islam.
Welcoming Mollah to the party, Banerjee refered to him as a peasant leader. “He is for long been a leader in the left movement. He is a veteran peasant leader. We are happy that he has come to our party.”
Replying to queries from media persons, Mollah seemed distinctly uncomfortable at having sided with a leader (Banerjee) he had vehemently criticised over decades.
“Why should I tell you the reason for joining this party? If I divulge everything to you, what will I tell the people?”
Asked what he would tell the masses, Mollah snaped back: “I will tell the people myself what I feel. You don’t have to take responsibility.”
It is believed that Mollah wlll be the Trinamool candidate from Bhangar in South 24 Parganas district in the coming assembly elections.
Shukla, who played three One Day International matches for India in 1999, has also captained the Bengal Ranji Trophy team.
The grapevine has it that both Shukla and Dalmiya will fight the polls on Trinamool tickets.