Kolkata: Former President Pranab Mukherjee‘s son and ex-Congress MP Abhijit Mukherjee joined the Trinamool Congress here on Monday.

The former two-time lawmaker from Jangipur Lok Sabha constituency in Murshidabad district of West Bengal had been in talks with the TMC leadership over the past few weeks, party sources said.

He was welcomed into the party by TMC leader in Lok Sabha, Sudip Bandopadhyay, amid shouts of ‘Mamata Banerjee Zindabad!’

“Didi succeeded in halting the BJP juggernaut in West Bengal. She is the most credible secular leader in the country who can fight and defeat the communal BJP. I have left one Congress to join another. We are sure of resisting the saffron camp across India in the future,” Mukherjee said.

The newly inducted leader, who was the state Congress campaign committee head during the last assembly polls, said that while he was in touch with Mamata Banerjee and her nephew Abhishek Banerjee before the assembly elections, had he joined the TMC before the polls, it would have been construed that he switched allegiance for some post.

“I don’t hanker for any post. I am a grassroots worker. I did not have any post in the Congress but only had its primary membership, which is lapsable every three years. Now, I have become a primary member of the TMC and it is up to the party to use my services the way it wants,” Mukherjee said.

Mukherjee, an engineer-turned politician who won twice from Jangipur constituency, had earlier last month dismissed rumours of his joining TMC after a meeting with former Congress colleagues – Khalilur Rahman, MP from Jangipur, Abu Taher Khan, MP from Murshidabad and TMC ministers Akhrruzzaman and Sabina Yesmin – who are now in TMC.

His friend Jitin Prasada, also the son of a prominent Congress leader of yesteryears, had earlier switched from Congress to BJP.

Mukherjee told PTI that he had always ideologically believed in secular politics, which motivated me to gravitate towards Didi.

Recalling his initial days in politics, Mukherjee said that he does not deserve credit for winning the Nalhati constituency in Birbhum district in the landmark 2011 assembly elections and his victory was due to the Mamata Banerjee wave that toppled the Left Front regime from power in the state.

“Similarly, the way Didi defeated the communal BJP despite the saffron camp’s all-out efforts to win this year’s assembly polls, she has commanded the respect of the entire country, including many Congress leaders,” he said.

On his sister Sharmistha Mukherjee’s political inclination, he said, “She is an independent person. That has always been the tradition of our family. My father had never influenced me to join Congress.”

Sharmistha Mukherjee, a Congress leader, tweeted: “SAD!!!”, without any further elaboration.

TMC secretary-general Partha Chatterjee said the party hopes that Abhijit Mukherjee’s political acumen and sagacity will help it to ensure a “BJP-free India” in the future.

“We are inducting Pranab da’s son Abhijit into the TMC with Mamata Banerjee’s consent. He had expressed interest to join the party through Abhishek Banerjee.

“We would like to use his services appropriately to fight the communal, undemocratic and fascist forces. He is the son of Pranab Mukherjee, who was our source of inspiration on many matters and mentored us on many occasions. He was a politician with deep roots in secular and progressive values,” Chatterjee said.

Asked to comment on the development, state Congress chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said, “It is his decision, what can I say? Those who have thoughts about quitting the Congress to join the TMC, it is entirely their own decision.”

Also read: BJP’s north Bengal leader, seven others join TMC

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