Trinamul loses Manipur unit
Imphal, April 28: Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee's Trinamul Congress today lost its Manipur face with the lone MLA of the party, Tongbram Robindro Singh, joining the BJP.
Singh was the president of the Manipur unit of the Trinamul.
The Manipur BJP today organised a reception for Robindro and four Congress legislators, who joined the BJP, at the party's head-office here in the presence of Northeast Democratic Alliance (Neda) convener and Assam finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.
Manipur BJP president K. Bhabananda Singh announced that Singh and four Congress members had joined his party.
Manipur chief minister Nongthombam Biren Singh welcomed Robindro to his party by giving him sweets.
The merger brought an end to the Manipur chapter of the Trinamul Congress, which was founded in Manipur in 2010 under the leadership of former Lok Sabha MP Kim Gangte, who is also a BJP leader now.
The party won a seat in the byelection held in Konthoujam Assembly constituency in 2010. It became the second single largest party in the 2012 election after the Congress by winning seven seats. However, just before the Assembly election was held in February this year, the party was left without any MLA.
Of the seven members, one died and the Congress retained the seat in the subsequent byelection. Two members were disqualified under the Tenth Schedule. The two disqualified members contested the byelection on BJP tickets and retained their respective seats. Later, one of the two BJP members joined the Congress.
The remaining four Trinamul members joined the Congress ahead of the recent election.
Before joining the BJP, Kim Gangte, under whose leadership the Trinamul won seven seats, blamed Mamata Banerjee and other All India Trinamul Congress leaders in Bengal for "free-for-all state of affairs" in the Manipur unit of the party.
"Our party has decided to join the BJP after realising the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief minister Nongthombam Biren Singh's policies to cement the cracks between the hill and the valley," Robindro said.
Welcoming the members, Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said it was a great day for the BJP, as the party's campaign for Congress-free Northeast was making headway. "After Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, the BJP will free Manipur of Congress. The next target is Meghalaya and Tripura," Sarma said.
Altogether six Congress MLAs have joined the BJP since the recent Assembly election.
"The electorate voted for change and gave power to the BJP. The vote for change was not only for the BJP candidates but also for change in the mindset of the bureaucrats and police personnel," Biren Singh said.