Ruling party lawmaker criticises government functioning

Ruling party lawmaker criticises government functioning

A Congress MLA on Saturday joined the Trinamool Congress (TMC) while a sitting ruling party legislator publicly expressed discontent against the party as political battle lines in West Bengal are being drawn and redrawn ahead of Assembly polls scheduled next year.

Qazi Abdur Rahim, Congress MLA representing Baduria Assembly seat in North 24 Parganas joined the TMC in the presence of senior ministers Firhad Hakim and Partha Chatterjee at the party headquarters. Mr. Rahim said the reason for him switching sides was to strengthen Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee fight against the BJP. He said at this juncture only Ms. Banerjee could fight the BJP.

Others who joined TMC on Saturday included Moumita Basu Chakraborty, a senior functionary of BJP’s Mahila Morcha in the State, and over half a dozen retired police officers.

Last month Rafiqul Islam, a sitting Communist Party of India (Marxist) MLA who represents Basirhat Uttar, in the same district joined the TMC. Over the past four years more than a dozen legislators, elected in 2016 Assembly polls on the Left or Congress tickets, have joined the Trinamool.

However, the TMC faced some criticism on social media from one of its own MLAs — Mihir Goswami, MLA from Cooch Behar south. Mr. Goswami recently met the BJP MP from Cooch Behar Nitish Pramanik and attempts by the TMC to win him over have not worked yet. Mr. Goswami has criticised party functioning particularly in seeking the services of poll strategist Prashant Kishore and his I-PAC team.

These developments came to the fore a day after Union Home minister Amit Shah’s visit to West Bengal during which he targeted the State government on numerous fronts and claimed that the BJP would win 200 of the 294 seats in the next Assembly polls. During the day the BJP launched a social media campaign targeting TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee.