KOLKATA: They were rewarded by their new party with election tickets for switching allegiance. However, jumping sides backfired for most of the turncoats in West Bengal as many BJP candidates, who defected from the ruling TMC, were either trailing or tasted defeats in the assembly polls.
However, a few defectors, who joined the BJP, got the better of their TMC rivals, including Suvendu Adhikari who emerged as a proverbial giant slayer, by defeating Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee albeit by a narrow margin.
Among prominent TMC turncoats who lost the battle were former state minister Rajib Banerjee, ex-MLA from Singur Rabindranath Bhattacharya, actor Rudranil Ghosh and former Howrah Mayor Rathin Chakrabarty.
Some of them joined BJP with much fanfare after being flown to the national capital on a chartered flight.
Banerjee, who had defected to the BJP early this year, failed to make a hat-trick of win from Domjur constituency as he lost to TMCs Kalyan Ghosh by 42,620 votes.
Bhattacharya, who quit the TMC after being denied an election ticket, was defeated by the ruling party’s candidate from Singur, Becharam Manna by nearly 26,000 votes.
The BJP nominee was seeking re-election from the seat.
Singur in Hooghly district has been on India’s political map after a farmers’ stir forced the exit of Tata’s small car project and is also a constituency which along with Nandigram shook the foundations of the mighty 34-year-old Left Front regime and propelled TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee to power in 2011.
Ghosh, who had joined the saffron camp recently, tasted a crushing defeat to TMC’s heavyweight and minister Shobhandeb Chattopadhyay from Bhabanipur, the seat vacated by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Chattopadhyay won from the constituency by over 28,000 votes.
Chakrabarty, who was mayor of the TMC-run Howrah Municipal Corporation and crossed over to the BJP before the polls, lost to former India cricketer and political debutant Manoj Tiwary from Shibpur by over 32,000 votes.
Another top defectors to the saffron camp were former TMC legislator from Bally Baishali Dalmiya and ex-Asansol Mayor Jitendra Tewari.
Tewari, a two-time former TMC MLA from Pandabeswar, who had also crossed over to the BJP before the polls, was trailing the ruling party nominee from the seat, Narendranath Chakraborty.
Dalmiya, who was expelled from TMC for allegedly speaking out against the party’s leadership and had later joined the BJP, was also trailing behind Rana Chatterjee, a ruling party nominee from Bally.
Prabir Kumar Ghosal, an ex-TMC MLA, who was seeking re-election from Uttarpara on a BJP ticket this time, also lost to Kanchan Mallick of the ruling party by over 35,000 votes.
Another former TMC MLA Silbhadra Datta, who fought the elections as a saffron party aspirant, also tasted defeat from Khardah.
Former TMC legislator Dipak Halder, who was nominated by the saffron party from Diamond Harbour, was trailing Pannalal Halder of the ruling party.
While Sabyasachi Dutta, who had joined the BJP in October 2019, lost to Sujit Bose from the Bidhanagar seat by 7,997 votes.
However, BJP’s vice president Mukul Roy who had switched side from Bengal’s ruling party in 2017, emerged victorious from Krishnanagar Uttar, defeating actress-turned- TMC nominee Koushani Mukherjee by a margin of 35,000 votes.
Mihir Goswami, who had joined BJP a few months back, won the Natabari seat by defeating Rabindranath Ghosh of TMC.