Calcutta, Aug. 25: Nearly 300 Congress activists, including half a dozen gram panchayat pradhans and panchayat samiti members, from Chopra in North Dinajpur joined the Trinamul Congress here today.
They joined the ruling party at the Topsia Trinamul Bhavan here off EM Bypass in the presence of Trinamul’s all-India general secretary Mukul Roy.
Independent MLA Hamidul Islam, who had joined Trinamul a year ago, shepherded the Congress activists into the Trinamul Bhavan this afternoon from Chopra. Hamidul, once a close associate of the junior urban development minister at the Centre, Deepa Das Munshi, had won the Chopra seat as an Independent in the 2011 Assembly polls.
“Congress workers and leaders are joining Trinamul across Bengal to help strengthen Mamata Banerjee’s hands so that she can go ahead with her development agenda for the state,” Roy said after admitting the Congress workers into the party fold.
Asked about the reason for their switch to Trinamul, Mohammed Halim, Chopra gram panchayat pradhan, said they “have got disillusioned with the Congress because of its non-performance.”
Reacting to the exodus, state Congress president Pradip Bhattacharya tried to put up a brave face by asserting that the party would not be weakened. “Those who joined Trinamul are all opportunists. Their defection would not weaken the party’s traditional support base across Bengal.”
The latest exodus comes barely a fortnight after Congress councillors, including chairpersons of the Congress-run Dubrajpur and Cooch Behar municipalities, joined Trinamul en bloc.