AGARTALA : Amidst political parties' frantic efforts at realignment ahead of the crucial assembly elections in the Left-ruled Tripura, the BJP on Friday shut its doors for both the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and Congress legislators. "Our doors are shut for the nine TMC and Congress MLAs," Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) Tripura state unit President Biplab Kumar Deb told reporters.
"It is, however, open for other leaders and workers of the TMC, Congress and other parties but not for the nine sitting MLAs," he added.
Deb said: "In consultation with the party's central leaders, we had earlier announced a deadline of May 31 for the entry of the nine TMC and Congress MLAs into BJP. That deadline being over, the doors are also accordingly shut for them."
According to Deb, some of the TMC legislators had met former BJP President and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, Assam Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, BJP's national General Secretary Ram Madhav among other leaders and expressed their keenness to join the party.
"I am personally shocked about their approach in joining the BJP to oust the ruling Left in the next assembly elections in Tripura in February," Deb said.
On the forming of electoral alliance with the tribal parties, Deb said that Himanta Biswa Sarma was looking after the alliance with the three tribal parties.
"He has held several meetings with the leaders of INPT (Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura), IPFT (Indigenous People's Front of Tripura) and NCT (National Conference of Tripura)," he added.
Sarma, who is holding the Finance, Health and Family Welfare and Education portfolios in the BJP government in Assam, is also the convener of the BJP-led anti-Congress alliance, North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA).
Deb also not long ago held a closed door meeting with TMC legislator and the party's prominent leader in northern Tripura Biswabandhu Sen and Congress legislator and former opposition leader Ratanlal Nath.
The TMC's Tripura unit former President and a former Minister and ex-President of the Tripura Pradesh Congress Committee, Surajit Datta, and TMC's Tripura unit coordination committee chief Ratan Chakraborty and 15 other state committee members had joined the BJP earlier.
Besides, several thousand workers from the Congress, TMC and Communist Party of India-Marxist also have walked over to the BJP, making the party the main opposition party in Tripura. The state goes to elect a new assembly in about eight months.
TMC's key leader in Tripura and lawmaker Sudip Roy Barman, however, remained non-commital on the BJP leader's declaration.
"I would not make any comment on Deb's announcements. However, we are seriously keen to build an 'anti-Left maha jot' (grand alliance) to oust the ruling Left Front in Tripura in the next year's assembly polls," Barman said.
TMC supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in an interview to a Kolkata-based television channel had indicated that Barman and other party legislators of Tripura had gone to Delhi to meet the central BJP leaders.
Barman, however, has denied Banerjee's observation and said that they went to Delhi to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi to apprise him about certain issues about Tripura, including chit fund related matters.
Modi, however, did not meet the TMC leaders and legislators.
Congress' Tripura unit chief Birajit Sinha, also a party legislator, has also strongly reacted to Deb's announcement.
"Such statement is the sign of immaturity; senseless and ridiculous," Sinha told IANS.
The Congress has recently served a show-cause notice on senior legislator Ratanlal Nath for "anti-party activities and meeting BJP leaders, including party President Amit Shah.
"We have served a show cause notice to Ratanlal Nath last month (May) for his closeness with BJP leaders, including Biplab Deb," Sinha added.
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