A former Trinamool legislator defected to the BJP on Sunday after being snubbed for a crucial by-election to the seat she once held. Mitali Roy won from Dhupguri in 2016, but lost to BJP’s Bishnupada Roy in 2021. The BJP leader’s death last month led to the assembly bypoll next Tuesday.
Ms Roy is seen as an influential leader locally and the BJP termed her defection as a big blow to the Trinamool.
“Within 24 hours of @abhishekaitc’s public meeting, Mitali Roy, former MLA of Dhupguri assembly, left Trinamool and joined BJP today at Dhupguri election office…! The end of Trinamool has begun!! Long live BJP,” said West Bengal BJP president Sukanta Majumdar.
West Bengal minister Shashi Panja retorted with a “washing machine” jibe at the BJP, an allegation often made by non-BJP parties to symbolise that every corrupt person comes out clean after joining the BJP.
“@BJP4Bengal’s Washing Machine politics continues! Foes of 2021 becoming Friends in 2023 displays nothing but political opportunism! This proves, once again, that BJP has no organisational hold of its own,” she said.
Ms Roy isn’t the only politician to have jumped ship ahead of the crucial bypoll. BJP’s former district president Dwipen Pramanik joined the Trinamool last Saturday.
Meanwhile, Trinamool number two Abhishek Banerjee, who campaigned in Dhupguri on Saturday, said if the INDIA alliance comes to power LPG cylinder prices will drop to Rs 500.
“They have reduced Rs 200 for LPG cylinders terming it a gift for Raksha Bandhan. I want to ask the Prime Minister – does the festival of Rakhi come once every five years?” he asked.
“When the BJP lost in West Bengal during the 2021 Assembly polls, they reduced the prices for petrol and diesel. If BJP wins the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, LPG prices will hit Rs 3,000. But if INDIA Alliance wins, the prices of LPG cylinders will go down to Rs 500,” he added.
Significance of Dhupguri Bypoll
Dhupguri is being seen an important indicator of the voters’ mood in North Bengal, a region swept by the BJP during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and the 2021 assembly elections. However, Trinamool claims it has been able to regain some lost ground in the region and hopes to wrest the seat from the BJP.
The bypoll will primarily be a Trinamool vs BJP fight. The Left has fielded a candidate supported by the Congress, an indicator of the tricky issue of seat-sharing for the INDIA alliance in West Bengal.
Trimamool has fielded college professor Nirmal Chandra Roy for the bypoll and the BJP has nominated Tapasi Roy, the widow of a central police force personnel killed in a terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir in 2021. The CPM has fielded folk singer Ishwar Chandra Roy.
The campaigning ended today for Tuesday’s bypoll and the votes will be counted on Friday.
A total of 30 companies of central forces will be deployed for the bypoll.