Five-time Congress MLA Ratan Lal Nath deserted the Congress and joined the BJP camp in Agartala on Friday. Nath’s change of heart is on expected line as he was vocal against the then party president Sonia Gandhi and was found hobnobbing with BJP national leaders.
Two Assam ministers including health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and PWD minister Parimal Shuklabaidya along with BJP national general secretary Ram Madhab were camping in Agartala to welcome Nath to BJP fold. With his desertion, number of Congress MLAs has been reduced from nine to two in Tripura.
An elated BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav told NE NOW that Nath’s shifting to BJP camp would have tremendous impact in Tripura. Assam health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma , who is also the convenor of NEDA said many tribal leaders of the state are in touch with BJP leadership.
Nath, who had earlier protested officially when Sonia Gandhi was made the Congress president by raising question over her nationality, was suspended from the party but later after withdrawing his letter had rejoined the Congress. He was the longest serving Opposition Leader in the Tripura Legislative Assembly where he hold the post for a decade.
Considered a strong orator, Nath a law graduate is known and popular for raising vital issues in the assembly and has been elected five times from the Mohanpur constituency. Mohanpur has a mixed population and once a militant prone area and a long border with Bangladesh.
Recently, Nath was found dancing openly with the BJP supporters during the celebration of victory in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.
He was earlier found sharing dais with BJP national leaders and meeting Amit Shah besides announcing to join the saffron camp with all his followers. Though the Congress leadership of the state had warned Nath for his activities but he did not pay heed to the warning as he had by that time made up his mind to shift loyalty to BJP.
Congress spokesman Tapas Dey and former MLA said, “We do not to give much importance to opportunist like Ratan Lal Nath and others like him who during the bad times are in search of other parties where their purpose can be served. Our new leader Rahulji wants such people to be out of the party. Today or tomorrow Congress shall surely return to its old form.”
However, he accepted that with seven out of nine Congress MLA’s leaving the camp and joining the BJP may seem to be a big loss for the party at the moment. But these MLAs have lost their credibility among common people and Congress shall gain in the long run, he said.