Six Tripura MLAs to join BJP on Monday: Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma  

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NEW DELHI/AGARTALA, Aug 5 (AGENCIES): In a major jolt to the Trinamool Congress party, six Tripura legislators are all set to formally join the BJP on Monday, Assam Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Saturday. The legislators were earlier axed by Trinamool Congress President and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee.

“These six ex-TMC MLAs will join the BJP in Agartala on Monday in the presence of Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, party General Secretary Ram Madhavji and others,” Sarma told the media in New Delhi after a meeting with Shah.

MLAs Sudip Roy Barman, Ashish Kumar Saha, Diba Chandra Hrangkhawl, Biswa Bandhu Sen and Pranjit Singh Roy met BJP President Amit Shah in New Delhi on Saturday, Himanta said. One MLA Dilip Sarkar is ailing and is in Agartala.

These six MLAs had resigned from the Congress and joined the TMC in protest against the Congress’ electoral alliance with the Left ahead of the 2016 West Bengal assembly elections.

On July 3, TMC Secretary General and West Bengal Education Minister Partha Chatterjee said in Kolkata that the party will have no relations with the six Tripura MLAs.

The six MLAs, according to Tripura assembly Deputy Speaker Pabitra Kar, are still recognised as TMC legislators.

These MLAs, led by Sudip Roy Barman, along with rebel Congress legislator Ratanlal Nath had voted for National Democratic Alliance’s Presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind on July 17.

A BJP leader said on the condition of anonymity that Sarma convener of the BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance facilitated these MLAs’ entry into the BJP. “Ratanlal Nath will also join the BJP soon,” he added.

The Congress has already served a show-cause notice to Nath for “anti-party activities and meeting BJP leaders” and has promised an appropriate decision at an opportune time.

According to Congress sources, Nath may be expelled from the party soon.

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