Chandan Mitra, former BJP MP, to join Mamata Banerjee?
Editor-in-Chief and Managing Director of The Pioneer, and a former BJP member of the Rajya Sabha for two terms, Mitra is reported to have resigned from the party
Prominent editor, journalist and a former Rajya Sabha MP between 2003 and 2016 Chandan Mitra has resigned his primary membership of the Bharatiya Janata Party, reported The Indian Express on Tuesday morning.
While attempts to independently verify the report drew a blank, sources confirm that Mitra is all set to join the AITC ( All India Trinamool Congress) headed by Mamata Banerjee and is likely to contest for a seat in the Lok Sabha in the next general election.
If the reports are correct, Mitra would be joining the growing rank of BJP leaders who are disenchanted with the Modi Government and the BJP. Beginning with Yashwant Sinha, Shatrughan Sinha and Kirti Azad, there are several BJP leaders who are said to be weighing their options.
Mitra’s move is a blow to the BJP which has been working overtime to make inroads into West Bengal. Both BJP president Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have been promising a repeat of what they pulled off in Tripura by dislodging the CPM government there, in Bengal.
But even as the Prime Minister was fulminating against Mamata Banerjee in Midnapore on Monday, it seems the West Bengal Chief Minister had quietly engineered a coup by persuading Mitra to leave the BJP.
Though there is no official confirmation that the resignation has been accepted by Amit Shah, it has been an open secret that Mitra was sidelined in the BJP.
Mitra, however, is learnt to have told people close to him that he had had enough of politics and would like to devote his attention to the newspaper, The Pioneer, of which he is the Editor and Managing Director.
Mitra, who was nominated to the Rajya Sabha in 2003 by the President, was elected to the Rajya Sabha again in 2010 from Madhya Pradesh as a BJP candidate. A former member of the BJP national executive, he was considered close to former Deputy PM Lal Krishna Advani and hence paid a price, BJP insiders admitted.
A disenchanted Mitra was hounded on Twitter by the party faithful even while he was a BJP MP. When he appeared to criticise overzealous party faithfuls on Twitter, who he said seemed to have nothing better to do, trolls pounced upon him and exhorted the party to throw him out. When his term in the Rajya Sabha got over, he was denied another term by the party.
Of late Mitra has been critical of the BJP, complaining that it was not paying sufficient attention to farmers’ issues, sugarcane growers etc.