West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool supremo Mamata Banerjee lost an influential legislator to the BJP today. Arjun Singh, lawmaker from Bhatpara Assembly seat, switched sides in New Delhi this afternoon.
Arjun Singh wanted the ticket to the Barrackpore Lok Sabha seat and made no secret of his aspiration. He is on record saying people of Barrackpore were not happy with sitting lawmaker Dinesh Trivedi. But Mr Trivedi has been renominated.
Arjun Singh did not hide his disappointment. Last night he flew to Delhi and showed up at the BJP headquarter. The BJP had has announced a major joining from Trinamool and Arjun Singh did nothing to stem the speculation.
Why is Arjun Singh important? He is a four-term lawmaker from Bhatpara, with a hold in several other Assembly segments in the Barrackpore parliamentary seat. He is also chairman of the Bhatpara municipality with loyal councillors.
His equation with sitting lawmaker Dinesh Trivedi is said to be rocky. In the 2014 Lok Sabha election, Mr Trivedi actually lost the Bhatpara assembly segment but in the 2016 Assembly elections Arjun Singh romped home as legislator with a handsome margin.
Reputed to be a strongman, not shy of using muscle power, Arjun Singh is also close to BJP leader Mukul Roy, who was once Mamata Banerjee’s right hand man.
On Tuesday, while announcing her candidates, Mamata Banerjee had said, “There are some greedy people who want tickets that I am unable to give. They may change sides. I say good riddance. They will understand what Trinamool is only after they have left.”