Several leaders and cadres of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) will join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) once the Election Commission announces the dates for the Parliamentary polls, the West Bengal BJP leadership claimed on Friday. During a closed-door meet in Kolkata, BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya said, "Several leaders of TMC are in touch with us. They will join BJP once the poll dates are announced."
According to state BJP sources, leaders both at the state level and central level are in touch with TMC leaders, which includes both elected representatives such as MLAs, MPs and also leaders at the organisational levels.
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Meanwhile, scoffing the claim of the saffron party, TMC secretary-general Partha Chatterjee said the BJP leaders are living in "fool's paradise".
The West Bengal ruling party had received a jolt when its sitting MP from Bishnupur Lok Sabha seat in Bankura, Soumitra Khan, had switched over to the BJP in January this year.
"Our central leadership has set a target of winning more than 23 seats in Bengal. Several leaders from other parties including TMC, Congress and CPI(M) on a regular basis are joining us," BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said.
BJP is living in "fool's paradise" and defections from TMC won't affect the party's prospects in Lok Sabha polls, Partha Chatterjee said.
"The people of this state firmly stands behind Mamata Banerjee. The masses have full faith on her and her developmental policies," Chatterjee said.
Last year, BJP national president Amit Shah had set a target of winning at least 22 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state. The saffron party has been pulling out all stops to achieve the target. BJP, at present, has just two seats in the state.
With the target in mind, the state BJP leadership has been wooing TMC leaders and workers at various levels into the party.
The defections from TMC had resulted in a windfall for the BJP in panchayat polls held last year and also in several bypolls, where the party witnessed a sharp rise in vote share and cemented its place as the main challenger to the TMC in West Bengal.
The BJP has asked party leaders and cadres to strengthen the booth committee in their respective areas.
(With agency inputs)