As Union home minister Amit Shah cancelled his two-day trip to West Bengal starting on Jan 30, the former forest minister in the Mamata Banerjee cabinet, Rajiv Banerjee and the Trinamool Congress MLAs Baishali Dalmiya and Prabir Ghoshal and two other TMC leaders joined the Bharatiya Janata Party outside Amit Shah’s home in New Delhi on Saturday night. Rajiv Banerjee had resigned from the cabinet just a day before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Kolkata on January 23. He subsequently quit the Trinamool Congress on Friday.
As per the earlier programme they were supposed to join the saffron party in Howrah at a function on Sunday to be presided over by Amit Shah.
However, on Saturday a special plane was sent for inviting them to New Delhi. The five leaders landed in Delhi in the evening and went straight to meet Amit Shah. They are to fly back to Kolkata to attend the Howrah function on Sunday.
Baishali Dalmiya is the daughter of the former president of Board of Control for Cricket in India, Jagmohan Dalmiya.
About a dozen leaders of various parties had joined the BJP when Amit Shah had visited West Bengal on December 19-20 last. This included former transport minister Suvendu Adhikari.
Commenting on this development the TMC said that they are free to go to any party and that their exit would have no impact whatsoever on the outcome of the result of the Assembly election in next May.