As many as 300 BJP supporters, who were on hunger strike in front of a Trinamool Congress office in Birbhum demanding to be taken back into the party fold, were finally reinducted on Friday after they were sprinkled with ‘Gangajal’ “to cleanse their polluted minds”.
Friday morning’s incident in Banagram, part of Sainthia assembly constituency, was the latest in a series of such protests by defectors now keen to return to Trinamool.
Asoke Mondal, one of the protesters, said: “We want TMC to take us back. By joining BJP, we have stalled development in our villages. The constant protests (by BJP) have done more harm than good. We want to return of our own free will. We will continue with the strike till we are taken back.”
The strike started at 8am and ended at 11am when the protesters were sprinkled with Ganga water.
Banagram’s Trinamool panchayat pradhan Tushar Kanti Mondal, who handed the party flag to new entrants, said: “These people had been requesting for the last couple of days to join our party. Today, they sat in dharna in front of the party office and appealed to be taken back. I had talked to our leaders and included them again in our party.”
Regarding sprinkling of Gangajal, Mondal said: “BJP is a communal party. They have injected their poisonous thoughts into their minds and spoiled their mental peace. So shantir jal (holy water) was sprinkled on them to rid them of all ashanti (evils). It was not meant for their purification, rather purification of their minds that were polluted by BJP.”
Trinamool’s Sainthia MLA Nilabati Saha said: ”I have heard that some people have joined our party in that village. But the event was organised by our local leaders.”
A district BJP leader, refusing to be named, said: “All these are drama. Everywhere, our party workers and supporters are forced to join TMC. Such drama is arranged to show there is no post-poll violence. In some areas, the situation is so dangerous that BJP workers have no option but to join TMC.”
In a similar incident in Illambazar, villagers sat on dharna at the TMC office with appeals to be taken back.
Earlier, in places such as Nanoor, Bolpur and Sainthia, some people who claimed to be BJP workers were found using a microphone mounted on a vehicle to seek “apology” and plead to rejoin TMC.