A day after its lone MLA in West Bengal joined the TMC, the Congress on Tuesday lashed out at the Mamata Banerjee-led party, saying such "poaching" is not designed to strengthen Opposition unity and only serves the BJP's objectives.
The crossing over of the Congress' MLA to TMC and the grand old party slamming West bengal's ruling party assume significance as these come at a time when efforts are on to forge Opposition unity to take on the BJP in the 2024 general election.
The Congress lost its lone MLA in the state assembly, Bayron Biswas, as he crossed over to the ruling TMC on Monday, joining the party in the presence of its general secretary Abhishek Banerjee.
In a sharp attack on the TMC, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said, "Three months after he was elected as a Congress MLA in a historic victory, Bayron Biswas has been lured away by the TMC in West Bengal." This is a complete betrayal of the mandate of the people of the Sagardighi Assembly constituency, Ramesh said on Twitter.
"Such poaching which has happened earlier in Goa, Meghalaya, Tripura and other states is not designed to strengthen Opposition unity and only serves the BJP's objectives," he said.
At the function to join the ruling party in Ghatal in Medinipur, Bayron claimed the Congress played no role in his victory, and he won because of "my goodwill".
Bayron, a local 'bidi' magnate, had won the Sagardighi seat earlier this year in a by-election, beating his TMC rival, much to the consternation of the ruling camp.
The desertion of the MLA does not come under the purview of the anti-defection law as he is the lone representative of the Congress in the assembly and his joining TMC means a merger of the Congress Legislative party with the larger TMC legislative party.
On Monday, Bengal Congress chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury had also lashed out bitterly at Biswas for his desertion, saying, "If we had not been there with you (Bayron Biswas), you would not be what you are (an MLA) today".
Chowdhury had said the TMC was petrified after losing Sagardighi by-polls and had used everything at its disposal to poach the Congress MLA.
He blamed the TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee and her nephew and party MP Abhishek Banerjee for luring MLAs from other parties.
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