Siliguri, April 12: A number of district-level leaders of the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) joined the Congress in Darjeeling district of West Bengal, just a few hours ahead of party supremo and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's rally.
The district will go to the polls on Sunday (April 17).
The leaders, including TMC's district executive chairman Alok Chakrabarti and district women leader Jyoti Tirkey, joined the Congress in the presence of state Congress chief Adhir Chowdhury and AICC general secretary in charge of the party, C P Joshi. Both Chakrabarti and Tirkey were leaders of influence in the TMC.
Besides, five more block-level and labour leaders also left the party in Phansidewa and Matigara-Naxalbari constituency areas.
Chowdhury said the trend will soon be seen in other parts of the state. "The fall of the TMC has started from Siliguri," the former Union minister said.
Both Chakrabarti and Tirkey reportedly had differences with other leaders of the party. Both said that they had a forgettable experience in the TMC and hence decided to leave.
Sources in the TMC, however, refuted the charges and said the party will not be affected because of their exit.
Former Indian football captain Baichung Bhutia will take on former state minister Ashok Bhattacharya from Siliguri in April 17 election.