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‘Curious’ MLA does U-turn, eyes Trinamul

Calcutta, Dec. 12: Two weeks ago, he said he had “straightaway rejected” Mukul Roy’s offer of a “plum post” in Trinamul.

He had gone to Roy’s office “just to know how Trinamul is wooing our leaders”.

Senior Congress leaders had sung his praise and advised others in the party to follow his example at a time many councillors have defected to the ruling party, giving it control of one civic body after another.

Today, Saumitra Khan, a first-time Congress MLA from Bankura, realised his “mistake” and said he wanted to join Trinamul.

Trinamul sources said the formalities of the defection would be completed once party all-India general secretary Roy returned from Delhi.

Khan, the Kotulpur MLA, said today: “I have realised my mistake. The people of my constituency want to be part of the development process initiated by the state government. Mamatadi is working hard for the development of Bankura. My earlier decision was wrong. I will join Trinamul soon.”

The 31-year-old legislator reeled off development projects chief minister Mamata Banerjee has announced for Bankura, including a university.

State Congress president Pradip Bhattacharya today said: “If he wants, he can leave the party.”

On November 26, hours after Khan “rejected” Roy’s overtures, Bhattacharya had said: “He (Khan) has done a good job. Others should learn from it.”

Ajoy De, another Congress MLA who joined Trinamul recently, was also present at the meeting with Roy.

Khan said Trinamul had assured him that he would be given a ticket to contest the Kotulpur seat once he stepped down as MLA after joining Trinamul.

He said he was “unhappy” with the state Congress for “ignoring” Bankura.

“The party president’s post in Bankura has been lying vacant for the past six months. I was the district Youth Congress president till 2011. After that, I was not given any organisational responsibility,” Khan said.