Union Home Minister Amit Shah is flying in to New Delhi five Trinamool leaders who were earlier supposed to join the BJP at his rally in Howrah on Sunday but will now do so today itself in his presence at the party headquarter.
Mr Shah was to spend the weekend in Kolkata and participate in a rally at Howrah tomorrow where the five former Trinamool leaders were supposed to join his party. He had to, however, cancel his visit and draw up this alternative plan.
“Mr Amit Shah called me up and said he would like to handover the flag to me himself, so he is sending down a chartered plane to fly me to the capital,” said Mr Rajib Banerjee, former Forest Minister of West Bengal, who resigned from Trinamool yesterday.
Others scheduled to leave Kolkata by the 4 pm flight are Trinamool MLA from Bali, Baishali Dalmiya, Uttarpara MLA Prabir Ghoshal, Howrah mayor Rathin Chakraborty, and former MLA and five-term civic chief of Ranaghat Partha Sarathi Chatterjee.
Sunday’s mega BJP rally at Dumurjola in Howrah will take place as scheduled, though Mr Shah is likely to join only virtually. Union Textile Minister Smriti Irani will be there, along with other state leaders and the new entrants.
The Trinamool, which held a poll strategy meeting on Friday, has taken a decision not to focus on the exits but on campaigning instead. The order from the top: Do not abuse and bad mouth those quitting the party as the impact of that on the voter is negative.