In another setback to the ruling Trinamool Congress amid the ongoing desertions it has been facing ahead of the state elections, two-time MLA Dipak Haldar has quit the party and joined BJP, accusing the TMC leadership of not letting him work for the masses.
Haldar joined the BJP in presence of party leaders Mukul Roy and Suvendu Adhikari on Tuesday, a day after quitting TMC. The Diamond Harbour MLA’s move was well speculated, given the crossing over of his ex-colleagues to the saffron camp after quitting Mamata Banerjee’s TMC in the past few months.
Haldar sent his resignation to the party-state president Subrata Bakshi and TMC’s South 24 Pargana chief Subhasish Chakraborty on Monday evening. However, he said that he is not resigning from the post of MLA, as he is committed to the people of his constituency.
“I’m a two-time MLA. Since 2017, I’m not allowed to work properly for the masses. Despite informing the leadership, no action was taken to improve the situation. I am not informed about any party programme. I’m answerable to the people of my constituency,” he said.
“I have sent my resignation letter to the district and state president this evening through speed post. I thank (West Bengal Chief Minister) Mamata Banerjee for allowing me to serve as an MLA,” added the MLA.
Accusing a section of party leadership for harassing him and his family members, Haldar said, “Just because of differences with me, my family members were also harassed. Why should I tolerate this humiliation? I don’t deserve this.”
For the last few months, the MLA has been speaking against the party leadership. Haldar, considered to be a close associate of BJP leader Sovan Chatterjee, since his days in TMC, recently met the latter at his residence in South Kolkata.
The TMC leadership said Haldar was a “non-performing” MLA of the party and it was unlikely that he would have got a nomination this time.
“If he felt so humiliated then he should have resigned two years back. Why did he wait for so long? The fact is he was well aware that he won’t be getting a ticket this time and that is why he is now planning to jump the ship,” a senior TMC leader said.
In 2015, Haldar was suspended from TMC after he was arrested for his alleged involvement in a clash between rival factions of the party’s students’ front in a district’s college. Later he was out on bail and was reinstated in the party.
Since the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, when the BJP bagged 18 seats, just four less than the ruling TMC and emerged as its main challenger in West Bengal, 17 MLAs of the Trinamool Congress, one TMC MP, three belonging to the Congress the CPI(M) each and one from CPI has crossed over to the saffron camp. However, except for former state cabinet ministers Suvendu Adhikari and Rajib Banerjee, none of them resigned as MLAs.
Elections to the 294-member West Bengal assembly are likely to be held in April-May this year.
(With inputs from agencies)