Denied ticket by Mamata Banerjee, TMC MLA Sonali Guha all set to join BJP

Denied ticket by Mamata Banerjee, TMC MLA Sonali Guha all set to join BJP

TMC MLA Sonali Guha, who was denied a ticket by her party on Saturday, is all set to join the BJP.

BJP sources said that Guha has had a conversation with BJP leader Mukul Roy and will formally join BJP during the rally at the Brigade Parade Ground in Kolkata which will be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday.

Guha, a four-time MLA from Satgachia in South 24 Parganas, once a member of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s innermost circle. The TMC has announced the candidature of Mohan Chandra Naskar from that seat.

Soon after Guha was denied a ticket on Saturday, she had broken into tears and expressed her disappointment at being dropped from the list of candidates. “I only wish good sense dawns upon Mamata,” she said.

Referring to Guha’s exclusion while announcing the list of candidates on Friday, Banerjee had said, “We could not give a ticket to Sonali as she is not well. She has high sugar.”

Guha was among at least 28 sitting MLAs who have been denied tickets by the TMC this time, with the party led by Mamata Banerjee trying to project new faces.

Among the other sitting MLAs who were dropped are also Jatu Lahiri, Rabindranath Bhattacharya and Rafikur Rahaman.

Dissent brewing among MLAs denied tickets by TMC

Guha was not the only one among those dropped to express her resentment against the party. TMC’s Shibpur MLA Jatu Lahiri has been overlooked this time, with the party fielding cricketer Manoj Tiwary from the seat.

Unhappy with the move, Lahiri told reporters that despite being a “loyal soldier” of the TMC he was ignored by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

“More than not getting the nomination, I am hurt that an outsider having no links with the electorate has got the nomination just days after being inducted into the party. It seems we are not required by the TMC anymore. I am leaving the organisation,” he said.

TMC has nominated former cricketer Manoj Tiwary from the Shibpur seat in Howrah. Lahiri, a veteran politician, also hinted that he may join the BJP. However, BJP sources said that there was no information about Lahiri joining the party.

Denying tickets to sitting MLAs led to protests from their followers in different parts of the state on Friday.

At Natunhat, many party workers who have followed Arabul Islam, a TMC strongman and former MLA from Bhangar, over the years blocked roads by torching wooden chairs and car tyres in front of the TMC party office.

Similar scenes unfolded in North 24 Pargana’s Amdanga, 35 km from Kolkata, where supporters of two-time MLA Rafiqur Rahman blocked the NH-34 in protest after Rahman was denied a ticket.

Traffic movement was completely stopped for over two hours and even when central security forces intervened, a group of men with TMC flags kept raising slogans in support of Rahman.

There were also reports of party workers being unhappy with TMC’s decision to field Omprakash Mishra, a professor of international relations at Jadavpur University who joined TMC in 2019 after a long stint with the Congress.

Among the other big TMC leaders who were overlooked are Rabindranath Bhattacharya, Moinuddin Shams and Dipendu Biswas.

In an oblique reference to TMC’s decision to field Becharam Manna from Singur and his wife Korbi Manna from Haripal, Bhattacharya said, “People from the same family were nominated in both the constituencies. You can understand how the party is working.”

While announcing the list of candidates at her Kalighat residence on Friday, Banerjee said that in view of the Covid-19 crisis, tickets have not been given this time to those who are more than 60 years of age.

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