Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Dharmendra Pradhan on Monday informed that the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and Congress MLAs are joining the saffron party, adding that Tripura will be headed by a BJP Chief Minister in 2018.
"They are joining my party, a strengthened party in Tripura. It is very clear that next party in Tripura will be headed by a BJP Chief Minister," Pradhan told media here.
Meanwhile, TMC MLA Sudip Roy Barman said that his party was searching for a platform from where they can give a solid fight to the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM), thereby defeating and uprooting it form the government.
"We have been observing the BJP since a long time, their natural leadership and the central government. We thought for the greatest interest of the people of state that the BJP has given a platform to fight the CPM in Tripura," he said.
"Therefore, we have preferred to join the BJP. There will be heavyweight leaders of West Bengal also joining our footsteps and within few months they will also join the BJP to dislodge the communist forces in West Bengal as well," Barman added.
Former leader of the opposition and Congress MLA Ratan Lal Nath said that the BJP has no link with the CPM at any level and they would work together to eradicate CPM from the state.
Nath is also set to join the BJP but it may get delayed for some time due to legal issues.
Less than seven months from assembly elections in Left-dominated Tripura, the BJP is set to become the main opposition party in the state with six members of legislative assembly (MLAs) of TMC expected to formally join the BJP today.
The development is politically significant because the BJP has never won an assembly seat in Tripura, whose politics is dominated by Manik Sarkar-led CPM.
The BJP has seen a recent surge in support in the North East, after winning elections in Assam and forming governments in Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur, it wants to establish a strong presence in Tripura as well.
Currently, the ruling CPM has 50 seats in the assembly and its ally, the Communist Party of India (CPI) one seat.