KOLKATA: Bringing an end to all speculations and in another jolt to the BJP, BJP's Barrackpore MP Arjun Singh rejoined West Bengal's Trinamool Congress on Sunday evening.
He was greeted back into the party by Trinamool General Secretary Abhishek Banerjee at the party office at Camac Street in central Kolkata. Other top Trinamool leaders, MLAs, and ministers from the North 24 Parganas district were present on the occasion.
The development comes as another setback for the BJP against the backdrop of the West Bengal Panchayat polls in 2023 and the Lok Sabha polls in 2024, as Singh was an important pillar in expanding its organisational base in North 24 Parganas district, especially in the Barrackpore, area since 2019.
Speculations were rife for quite some time that Singh might come back to Trinamool as he continued with his salvos against the Union government on the issue of fixing the price of jute. Recently Singh also became vocal against the state leadership of BJP claiming that the latter has become social media-oriented instead of focusing on grassroots level organisation.
Union Textiles Minister Piyush Goyal and BJP's national President J.P. Nadda even had separate meetings with Singh in New Delhi to address his grievances. However, as the latest developments show, those did not prove to be fruitful.
After rejoining, Singh said that he had switched over the BJP in 2019 after misunderstandings with Trinamool leadership.
"But after joining BJP, I faced hurdles in acting independently as an elected Lok Sabha member from the state. I tried hard to settle the jute price issue and there too I faced hurdles. So, I decided to join back...," he said.
Asked whether he would resign as a Lok Sabha member on moral grounds, Singh said that currently there are two Lok Sabha members from Bengal, who are officially Trinamool MPs, but are actually with the BJP.
"The day these two MPs resign on moral grounds, I will also resign within an hour and face fresh elections," he said. His clear hints were towards the Leader of Opposition in Assembly, Suvendu Adhikari's father, Sisir Adhikari, the Trinamool MP from Kanthi and brother, Dibyendu Adhikari, the Trinamool MP from Tamluk. Both these constituencies are in East Midnapore district.
Reacting to Arjun Singh's exit, BJP's national Vice President, Dilip Ghosh said that Singh was unable to bear the administrative and police pressure on him since the time he was elected on behalf of the BJP from Barrackpore. "Previously some of our elected MLAs joined Trinamool Congress because of the same pressure," he claimed.
Arjun Singh was a four-time Trinamool MLA from Bhatpara Assembly constituency in North 24 Parganas district from 2011 to 2019. However, as he was denied the Lok Sabha nomination from Barrackpore Lok Sabha constituency by the Trinamool leadership in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, he joined the saffron camp. The BJP fielded him as its candidate from Barrackpore Lok Sabha in 2019 and Singh got elected defeating Trinamool' sitting member, Dinesh Trivedi by a margin of little less than 15,000 votes.