In a massive blow to the Mamata Banerjee led Trinamool Congress (TMC), former party general secretary, Shankudeb Panda has reportedly joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Apart from him, veteran actor Biswajit Chatterjee and Ranjan Bhattacharya have also joined the party. They came into the BJP fold in the presence of senior BJP leader, Kailash Vijayvargiya and the former TMC leader, Mukul Roy. What must be particularly disconcerting for the TMC is the inclusion of Shankudeb Panda within the BJP.
Panda was once seen as one of the confidantes of the West Bengal chief minister, Mamata Banerjee. His joining the saffron party is, therefore, going to hurt the TMC in a big way. Of late, differences had grown between Mamata Banerjee and Panda. However, the fact that someone who had once occupied the position of party general secretary shows that the TMC has been given a strong jolt. As per MyNation, it is believed that Mukul Roy used his influence to bring Shankudeb Panda within the BJP fold in face of a growing distance between Mamata Banerjee and Panda.
Shankudeb had started from the grassroots level and slowly grew in stature within the Trinamool. He graduated as a Trinamool Chhatra Parishad leader and went on to become the state general secretary of the party. The Amit Shah led party has witnessed an unprecedented rise of its presence in West Bengal and this is going to be a major shot in the arm for the BJP. Mamata’s dictatorial government combined with her appeasement tactics have given a wonderful opportunity for the BJP to make a major impact in the state of West Bengal. The Amit Shah led party has been making all possible attempts to make a mark in the state. The inclusion of Shankudeb Panda is, therefore, going to be a major boon for the party. The sentiment in the state is in favour of the BJP. Presence of a strong local leader would help the saffron party in raising issues at the forefront in the state in a more effective and coherent manner.
The issue of leaders deserting the Mamata led party and joining the saffron party has been troubling the TMC for quite some time now. Last year, Sunday Guardian had reported that all was not well within the TMC and that a rebellion might have been brewing within her fiefdom. It had come to light that many top TMC leaders were keen to join the BJP but were not able to do so as they felt that the West Bengal BJP leadership wouldn’t be able to protect them against Mamata’s fury. This had come from sources within both the BJP and the TMC. This also corroborated the claims made by the BJP in the past that several TMC leaders were ready to join the party. Recently, in January this year, senior TMC leader, Saumitra Khan joined the BJP.
It is now clear that the TMC is a sinking ship. The Mamata led party’s misrule and narcissist attitude has made the TMC absolutely unpopular in the state of West Bengal. Leaders who were once seen as forming the top brass of the party are now leaving the Trinamool and joining the Bharatiya Janata Party. It is clear that the BJP is now set to make a major impact in the state and its rise is going to come at the cost of TMC’s downfall.
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