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Above: Mamata Banerjee addressing a rally today; (inset) Chandan Mitra

As was expected, journalist and Lal Krishna Advani loyalist Chandan Mitra, also a former Rajya Sabha MP of the BJP and Editor-in-Chief of Pioneer newspaper on Saturday (July 21), formally joined Trinamool Congress (TMC). He had earlier quit the BJP.

This was announced today by TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee, the Chief Minister of West Bengal. This was to be one of the high points of Mamata’s ‘revelations’ at her annual Martyr’s Day function that paralyses Kolkata each year on July 21. The day is observed as Martyr’s Day as a remembrance of the 13 lives lost in Mamata’s struggle to power in 1993. Mamata, then with Youth Congress, had held a protest march in the heart of the city and the-then CPI(M) administration in the state had ordered the police to open fire on the demonstrators. That killed the 13.

The others joining TMC were former CPM MP Moinul Hasan, Congress’ Sabina Yasmin and Mizoram advocate-general Biswajit Deb.

Mitra, an Advani loyalist, was completely sidelined by the current dispensation of the BJP, which is also against all the policies and thoughts of Advani. Advani himself has been sidelined by the all powerful duo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah, who reduced the entire cabinet of ministers to yes men.

Mamata was expected to also reveal her strategy for the 2019 general elections at today’s rally.

A SETBACK

Meanwhile, TMC’s efforts to corner its former top man Mukul Roy suffered a setback when the Calcutta High Court on Friday quashed 12 cases against the new BJP leader in the state. This was mainly on the cash-for-job scam in the railways when Roy was minister of that department.

Before the bench of Justice Shivakant Prasad, Roy’s counsel Subhasish Dasgupta stated that there was no plausible explanation on part of the complainants for the delay of six years to make the allegations. He called them “absurd.”

The judge studied all the allegations and quashed them.

—India Legal Bureau

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