BJP MLA from Katulpur in Bankura district, Harakali Pratihar, on Thursday joined the Trinamool Congress, with the state’s ruling party claiming that the move “reflected a resounding commitment to serving the people of West Bengal and strengthening the ideal of Ma Mati Manush”.
Incidentally, the move came on a day when the Enforcement Directorate (ED) carried out searches at the residence of West Bengal minister Jyotipriya Mullick in a case of alleged corruption in ration distribution.
Pratihar was inducted into the TMC in the presence of party general secretary Abhishek Banerjee.
In a statement, the TMC said, “Today, Harakali Protiher, the BJP MLA from the Katulpur Assembly constituency in Bankura district, joined hands with us in the presence of our national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee. We wholeheartedly welcome him to the Trinamool Congress family.”
“With this, we stand united in our mission to bring a positive change to our communities. Together, we pledge to work tirelessly, hand in hand, for the betterment of Bengal,” the TMC added.
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Underplaying the development, BJP spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya said, “We already had information that Pratihar will do this (join the TMC). This was expected. There were compulsions that made him keep a contact with the TMC. But his joining the TMC will have no effect on the BJP’s prospects in Bengal or the state’s political situation.”
Seven of the 77 BJP MLAs who won in the 2021 assembly elections have joined the TMC.
The Opposition party now has 67 MLAs in the state Assembly. The TMC won three seats in the bypolls.