New Delhi: More than 300 Trinamool Congress (TMC) workers from Cooch Behar in West Bengal joined the Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday at the latter’s national headquarters in Delhi, along with senior TMC Yuva Morcha leader Nishith Paramanik and a former CISF commandant and Arjuna awardee, Chhaya Adak.

Amongst the over-300 TMC workers who joined the BJP here on Thursday, 24 are elected sarpanchs from various villages of Cooch Behar district, while more than 150 of them are members of the panchayat samiti from several villages across the district.

Mukul Roy, senior BJP leader, told The Sunday Guardian: “All of these people who have joined the BJP today were active members of the TMC in Cooch Behar and most of them are elected members of the gram panchayat. They have joined the party today under the leadership of Nishith Paramanik. They will all work for the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections and help the party secure the Cooch Behar seat.”

TMC’s youth leader Nisith Paramanik led these 300 party workers to join the BJP. He was believed to be close to senior TMC leader and national president of the TMC’s youth wing, Abhishek Banerjee, the nephew of Mamata Banerjee. It is also believed that it was Paramanik who was instrumental in securing the maximum number of seats for the TMC in the local body elections held last year.

Nisith Paramanik told The Sunday Guardian, “Around 350 people from Cooch Behar joined the BJP today and these are people who won the panchayat elections on a TMC ticket. However, we have all decided to quit the TMC and join the BJP because of the lack of democracy in Bengal. The government and the TMC are being run on the whims and fancies of pisi and bhaipo (aunt and nephew). TMC has become like a private limited company. We all believe that if anybody can help West Bengal and the country, it is Prime Minister Narendra Modi and we are certain that the BJP will win the Cooch Behar seat in the Lok Sabha elections.”

Paramanik is expecting a ticket for himself in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections from the BJP; however, The Sunday Guardian could not get any confirmation from the party on whether he would be given a ticket from this constituency.

Sources in the Bengal BJP indicated that some senior leaders from the TMC, including some sitting MPs, were waiting to join the BJP, but would take that the step only after the elections were declared.

A senior BJP functionary said, “We are in talks with several TMC leaders who are willing to join the BJP ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, but they are just waiting for the right time. Some were scheduled to join on Thursday along with these people from Cooch Behar, but now they will join after the elections are declared. Even some Congress leaders are waiting to join the BJP in Bengal. They are afraid to go public now, because of the present situation in Bengal. Let the elections be declared and you will see how many join the BJP in Bengal.”