Snubbed by TMC, Will Turncoat Arjun Singh Knock on BJP’s Doors? Barrackpore’s ‘Bahubali’ Weighs Options – News18

Arjun Singh said he was shocked that the TMC had denied him a ticket and was unsure of the future. (Getty)

Singh had jumped ship to BJP in 2019 after he was denied a ticket but returned to TMC in 2022. However, despite his ‘Ghar Wapsi’, he failed to regain his stature in the party and lost out to Partha Bhowmick

West Bengal’s Barrackpore, located in North 24 Parganas, is known for its jute and cotton mills. However, since Sunday, the constituency has been in the news for the Trinamool Congress’s decision to replace sitting MP Arjun Singh with Naihati MLA Partha Bhowmick for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

Speaking to News18, Singh said: “I am shocked that the party has not given me a ticket. I really don’t know what to do now. I never expected this.”

Singh had jumped ship to BJP in 2019 after he was denied a ticket. His son Pawan Singh is a member of the saffron party and sources said Singh may try to return to BJP and put his weight behind ensuring his son gets a ticket from Barrackpore.

Till 2004, Barrackpore was won by CPI(M)’s Tarit Baran Topdar but, in 2009, Dinesh Trivedi wrested the seat from him. Sources said Singh, known as the “Bahubali” leader of the region, was responsible for Trivedi’s victory. Singh was also Bhatpara Municipality chairman for a long time.

When he joined BJP in 2019, law and order became a major issue in Barrackpore as murders and gang wars became common. The TMC had then claimed that Singh would terrorise locals and break party offices of his political rivals. The situation became so dire that Mamata Banerjee was forced to come to the area and open a TMC office.

As TMC floundered in Barrackpore in the absence of its ‘Bahubali’, it was Partha Bhowmick who put up a tough fight against Singh.

Meanwhile, Singh’s association with BJP did not last long. Miffed with the party, he returned to the TMC fold in 2022 along with several leaders like Mukul Roy who were part of the ‘Ghar Wapsi’ trend. However, he never regained the stature and powers he enjoyed before 2019.

Singh was also unwilling to join Bhowmick’s team and this often led to clashes between the two leaders and their supporters. In fact, after the list was declared on Sunday, Singh’s supporters held protests across the state.

As the 2024 Lok Sabha polls drew nearer, TMC sources said Singh was sure of getting a ticket. However, Bhowmick’s team is said to have conveyed to the TMC top brass that they would take a back seat if Singh was projected as the party’s face from Barrackpore.

Sources also said Singh met Banerjee a few days ago and it was conveyed to him that his seat could be changed. This did not sit well with the leader.

According to the sources, Singh came to know about Bhowmick getting a ticket from Barrackpore on Sunday morning, just before the list was announced. The sources also said TMC was upset about his switch to the BJP at a time when the former needed support and the denial of ticket was meant to be a lesson for him.

So, will Singh go to the saffron camp once again? BJP’s final list will make the situation clear.