Ending all speculations, Trinamool Congress MLA and former Asansol mayor Jitendra Tiwari joined the BJP on Tuesday in the presence of West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh. He was inducted into the party at a public meeting in Hooghly’s Baidyabati.
“I thank the BJP for including me in their big family. I don’t want to make any allegations against anyone. But it is a fact that I could not express my views and opinions in my former party. Now I will be able to speak freely. Today, I got the opportunity to chant Jai Shri Ram from a public meeting,” Tiwari said after joining the BJP.
Tiwari becomes the latest entrant among several TMC leaders and MLAs who have defected to the saffron party ahead of the Assembly elections.
Over two months ago, Tiwari had stepped down from the post of chairman of the administrative board of the Asansol Municipal Corporation and quit TMC as well. The Pandabeswar MLA had shot a letter to West Bengal Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim, accusing him of not granting funds for development work to Asansol under the smart city mission project.
After objections from Union minister Babul Supriyo, party leader Locket Chatterjee and others, Tiwari was not inducted into the party despite him being keen.
In a bid to placate a disgruntled Tiwari, senior TMC leader and state minister Aroop Biswas then held a meeting with him and persuaded him to stay in the party. Tiwari had then apologised for rebelling against the party, terming it a “mistake”, and vowed to work for Mamata Banerjee.
Later, Tiwari was removed as the party’s West Burdwan district president for his action and subsequently made the party’s national spokesperson — a move that did not go down well with him.
Reacting to the latest development, TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee said, “A lot of leaders are leaving. What’s so special about it? At the same time, a lot of leaders from the BJP are joining the TMC. Mamata Banerjee is the face of TMC and she is the only leader we are following. Those who are leaving will get nothing in return.”