Trivedi said he had been waiting for this "golden moment" and added that family is supreme in some parties but it is people who are supreme in the BJP.

Dinesh Trivedi JP NaddaBJP West Bengal
news Politics Saturday, March 06, 2021 - 13:50

Former Trinamool Congress MP Dinesh Trivedi joined the BJP on Saturday, weeks after he announced quitting his Rajya Sabha membership on the floor of the House deploring "violence" in poll-bound West Bengal. He joined the BJP in the presence of its president JP Nadda, and Union ministers Piyush Goyal and Dharmendra Pradhan besides other leaders.

Lauding Trivedi as a principled politician, Nadda said he was earlier a right person in the wrong party and was now in the right party. Trivedi said he had been waiting for this "golden moment" and added that family is supreme in some parties but it is people who are supreme in the BJP.

He also praised the Modi government for its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the issues involving neighbouring countries. A number of TMC leaders have quit the party in recent months to join the BJP as the saffron party mounts an aggressive all-out campaign to end Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's 10-year-old reign in the state.

Trivedi (70) was once a close confidant of TMC president Banerjee and was her choice for holding the important railway ministry portfolio in the Union Cabinet during the UPA government.

Though his ties with her strained resulting in him being removed from the cabinet, they later patched up. After losing the Lok Sabha election in 2019, he was sent to the Rajya Sabha by the party.

With the BJP being successful in wooing over a number of TMC leaders to its fold, the saffron party has said that this underscores an increasing unease in its rival camp and is a pointer to its "decisive" victory in the Assembly polls to be held in eight phases between March 27 and April 29.

Meanwhile, the TMC on Friday stole a march on its rivals, the BJP and the Left-Congress-ISF alliance, by coming out with the party's full list of 291 candidates, bringing in 114 new faces in a bid to beat the decade-old anti-incumbency.

Announcing the candidate list, TMC supremo and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that the remaining three seats of the 294 constituencies would be fought by its ally, the Bimal Gurung faction of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM).

Reaching out to the politically crucial 49% women voters and 30% minority population, the TMC's list has 50 women and 42 members of the minority community. Banerjee fielded 79 Scheduled Caste and 17 Scheduled Tribe candidates.

Altogether 28 sitting MLAs, including five ministers, faced the axe because of age factor or poor health. The feisty TMC boss, who herself switched constituencies and will be fighting from the high profile Nandigram seat, either nominated new faces or interchanged candidates in 160 assembly constituencies.

Affirming her candidature only from Nandigram, Banerjee said she will not contest from her traditional Bhowanipore seat in Kolkata, as she threw a challenge to her protege-turned-rival Suvendu Adhikari, who crossed over to the BJP in December.

"I will contest from Nandigram as I stick to my words. From Bhowanipore constituency, Sovandeb Chattopadhyay will contest the upcoming Assembly elections," Banerjee said.

"On March 9, we will release our manifesto. On March 10, I will file my nomination for the Nandigram seat," she told reporters.

Exuding confidence to return to power for the third consecutive term, Banerjee described this election as the "easiest" the TMC has ever faced.

"This would be a smiley election for us. We would win it," she said when asked whether this will be the most challenging election the party has faced since its inception in 1998.

"After we come to power, we will create Vidhan Parishad (Legislative Council) to accommodate senior and experienced leaders. We could not accommodate everybody, especially those above the age of 80 years," she said.

Banerjee sought the blessings of the state's people and urged them to have faith in her.

"I appeal to 'Maa Mati Manush' (Mother, Land and People) for your faith. Have faith in me, we will protect the state and take it to new heights," she said, turning to the slogan the party used during the 2011 election.

Show us some love and support our journalism by becoming a TNM Member - Click here.