Kolkata: The exodus of BJP lawmakers to West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress is not going to stop easily. After speculations of Sabhasachi Dutta leaving the party, there are strong indications that four more legislators are likely to switch camps, compelling BJP President J.P. Nadda to intervene.
The four MLAs re Hiran Chattopadhyay from Kharagpur in West Midnapore district, Niraj Jimba from Darjeeling, Sukumar Roy from Cooch Behar (North), and Dibakar Gharami from Sonamukhi in Bankura district. They have not only been absent from different party programmes but had also skipped the important meeting of the legislators last week where state BJP President Sukanta Majumdar was present.
The BJP’s West Bengal unit had organised a felicitation programme for the newly appointed state President and the party’s national Vice President, Dilip Ghosh, where all lawmakers were directed to be present, but these four did not, leading to speculations that they might have got some kind of indication from the Trinamool leadership.
The BJP, however, dismissed the speculations.
“They could not attend the programme because of some personal reasons. However, at some places, the Trinamool is trying to put pressure on our MLAs and also spreading rumours about them. None of the BJP legislators are quitting the party. These are all baseless rumours propagated by Trinamool Congress,” a senior BJP legislator said.
Meanwhile, party MP Locket Chatterjee has also been absent in several party programmes.
In the 2021 elections, 77 BJP legislators got elected. But soon the number came down to 75, as Nishith Pramanik and Jagannath Sarkar chose to remain Lok Sabha members. The number further declined to 71 following the resignation of four BJP legislators.
Another legislator Krishna Kalyani recently left the party, bringing down the number to 70. He has not joined the Trinamool yet, but he is likely to do so soon.
Now, if the BJP loses more MLAs, it will pose problems for the party. Sources said that if the number of MLAs slip down below 69, then the BJP’s prospects in Rajya Sabha polls from the state will suffer. With the present strength, the BJP can send two members to the upper house of the parliament.