Mr. Azad and Mr. Tanwar join the long list of Congress leaders who recently joined the TMC

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday welcomed former Congress leaders Kirti Azad and Ashok Tanwar, along with former JD(U) MP Pavan Varma, into the Trinamool Congress (TMC) in Delhi.

Since its victory in the West Bengal Assembly elections, for the third consecutive time, trumping the BJP, the TMC is keen to occupy the national stage at the expense of the Congress. Mr. Azad and Mr. Tanwar join the long list of Congress leaders who recently joined the TMC.

Mr. Tanwar, once considered close to senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, was an MP from Sirsa during 2009-2014 and also the president of the party’s Haryana unit. He quit the Congress days before the Haryana Assembly elections in October 2019 after he was replaced by Kumari Selja and denied ticket for the Assembly elections. In February this year he launched his own party, Apna Bharat Morcha.

Ms. Banerjee said the TMC would start working soon in Haryana and hinted that the party could even contest the next Assembly elections in the State. “The TMC family is complete. Ashok Tanwar is not alone. I have told him to begin work and he will visit both Kolkata and Goa. He will go to Haryana and travel the State. We have to all work together,” Ms. Banerjee told reporters.

Suspended from BJP

Cricketer-turned-politician and former MP Kirti Azad along with his family with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee after joining TMC, in New Delhi on Tuesday NOVEMBER 23, 2021 | Photo Credit: SANDEEP SAXENA


Mr. Azad, who briefly worked with the Congress, too joined the TMC. A member of the 1983 cricket World Cup-winning squad, Mr. Azad was suspended from the BJP for openly targeting the then Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley over alleged irregularities and corruption in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) in December 2015. He joined the Congress in February 2019 just ahead of the general elections. The Congress fielded him from the Darbhanga Lok Sabha constituency which the party has won thrice, but he lost the election to the BJP candidate.

“I will work under the leadership of Mamata Banerjee. Will start working on the field. The BJP’s politics is divisive and we will fight it. Today a personality like her is needed in the country who can show the country the right direction,” Mr. Azad said..

Mr. Varma, a former adviser to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, was expelled from the ruling JD(U) in 2020. He was an MP till July 2016. He was also the national general secretary and spokesperson of the JD(U). “Looking at the current political circumstances and the potential in Mamata Banerjee, I have today joined the TMC,” said Mr. Varma.

Ms. Banerjee is in the capital for a four-day visit. She will be meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday. Ms. Banerjee expressed her gratitude to all the leaders who joined the TMC. “I am thankful to you all for supporting me in this fight to defeat the BJP,” she said.

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