The induction of Babul Supriyo into the Trinamool Congress has quelled a lot of speculation in political circles of the state. The party with its ambitious plan to have its footprint at the national level wants to utilise Supriyo effectively and so the former BJP MP is likely to get a ticket to Rajya Sabah in place of Arpita Ghosh.
That relations between Babul Supriyo and the BJP had turned sour became very clear when the former union minister wanted to quit active politics but the resignation of Arpita Ghosh from the Rajya Sabha with still more than five years to go was not clear. Sources in the party indicated that Ghosh had to make the sacrifice only to make way for the former BJP union minister.
The Trinamool Congress that is planning to increase its activities in the national capital believes that the presence of Supriyo who has been a minister for seven years will help them to boost their presence in Delhi. Moreover, his experience in the BJP will help them to understand the strategy of the saffron brigade better. The party also wants to use Supriyo in their expansion plan in the North East, Jharkhand, Bihar and Odisha.
Though Supriyo said that he had been in touch with the Trinamool Congress high command for the last four days but sources in the party said that the talks with Supriyo were going on for the last two months indicating that they started after Supriyo was removed from the ministry.
BJP leader Anupam Hazra hinted at the Trinamool Congress’ plans.
“‘Tar mane ‘jhal-muri’ rapha agei hoye gechilo, just opekha kora hochchilo Rajya Sabha te kivabe pathano jai!!! Tai hoito bechari Arpita devike eto torighori kore Rajya Sabha chere theatre e mon dite bola (‘Jhal-Muri’ negotiation was already been made. Just waiting for him to be sent to the Rajya Sabha!!! That’s why perhaps poor Arpita Devi was asked to leave the Rajya Sabha in such a hurry and was asked to focus on theatre),” Hazra tweeted.
Though the party leadership is tight-lipped about their future plans, Supriyo has already hinted that there is something big that is coming up within three to four days. Speaking to the media Supriyo said, “Believe me or not this was an opportunity that suddenly came to me. Four days before I spoke to Derek regarding the admission of my daughter and then the conversation started. I had discussions with Didi (Mamata Banerjee) and Abhishek Banerjee and they offered me something (I won’t reveal the details now) that was enough to satisfy my demand to work for the people of Bengal. It was difficult to say no to it”.
“I have always wanted to work for the people and the Trinamool Congress has given me the opportunity to work for the development of Bengal. The party has given me the opportunity to work for the people. What more can I expect?” Supriyo said adding that he would be meeting Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday.
When asked whether he was going to the Rajya Sabha in place of Arpita Ghosh, Supriyo said, “I cannot say anything now. The party will make the announcements. I can only say that Trinamool Congress has opened up a huge opportunity for me”.
Though the Trinamool Congress has overwhelmingly accepted Babul Supriyo in the party, the BJP accused their two-time MP from Asansol of betraying not only the party but also the people of his constituency.
The Congress and the CPM, however, termed it as ‘politics of opportunists’.
Though the Trinamool hailed the entry of Supriyo into the party, the BJP MP met with severe criticism from his former camp.
“Babul Supriyo left the party after he was left without a portfolio and this proves that he was in the party only for gains. Now he is with the Trinamool Congress because, perhaps, they have promised something big. He is an opportunist. He has not only betrayed the party, but also the people of his constituency. One thing I can say is that the BJP will again get an MP from Asansol,” BJP spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya said.
Countering Bhattacharya, Trinamool MP and veteran leader Sougata Roy told the media, “After the Assembly elections, four BJP MLAs and one MP have joined the Trinamool Congress and more are likely to follow. There are many big names in the BJP who are waiting. This is the beginning of the end of BJP. No right-thinking people can stay there.”
Senior BJP leader and the party’s national secretary Rahul Sinha said, “This is a temporary shock and the BJP will surely get over it.
“This cannot be politics. To lure people with money and power or threaten people with police and agencies and bring them into the party fold cannot be healthy politics. The BJP is an organisation-based party that runs on certain ethics and principles. So we are not bothered about it.”
“What the BJP did before the elections were ethical politics? They were taking our people and now when the process has reversed, they have suddenly become concerned about ethics and principles. They are getting the same return and they will see it again,” Trinamool Congress spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said.
CPM leader Sujan Chakraborty said, “The person who was all praise for Narendra Modi and had accused Mamata Banerjee has suddenly changed colour. Mamata Banerjee has suddenly become an extraordinary leader. Is this politics? This is business. Trinamool Congress has offered him a better bet, so he is with them. If tomorrow any other party offers him something better, it will take two minutes for him to leave Trinamool.”
“This is not politics. This is like going to a shop and asking for offers. The shop that gives the best offer, I buy from there. There is neither any ethics nor there is any principle and I find no difference between Trinamool Congress and BJP,” state Congress President Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said.