In an embarrassment to the BJP president, Amit Shah, the woman at whose house he had dined a week ago as he kick-started his mission Bengal, has now joined the ruling Trinamool Congress.
According to a report by NDTV, Geeta and her husband Raju Mahali were welcomed as members of the Trinamool Congress by the state’s Tourism Minister, Gautam Deb.
Shah had lunch at the house of Raju Mahali in Darjeeling district.
The photo of Shah sitting on the floor of Mahali’s house at Dakkhin Katiajote village in Naxalbari area while enjoying rice, moong dal, potol fry, squash curry, salad and papad, served on a banana leaf, had gone viral.
BJP West Bengal unit’s controversial president Dilip Ghosh too had accompanied Shah.
A stung BJP, however, accused the TMC of ‘kidnapping’ the family and forcing them to join the party, but Deb said they had been inspired by the life and struggle of Mamata Banerjee and so joined the party.
West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh said, “We had reports that they were being threatened by TMC goons. They had been missing for the last two days. We also filed an FIR after they they had gone missing. They were kidnapped by the TMC and forced to join the party. We condemn such act.”
During his north Bengal trip, Shah had eaten his lunch sitting on the floor of Raju Mahali’s modest house at Dakkhin Katiajote village in the Naxalbari area. BJP’s West Bengal unit president Dilip Ghosh also also had lunch there.
Deb rejected the allegations and said, “They have joined of their own free will.”
Geeta too agreed and said, “We were not threatened, offered money or anything. We like Mamata Banerjee and so we have joined Trinamool.”
Geeta and had family had reportedly gone underground to ensure that the BJP workers could not gain access to them.
The BJP doesn’t have much presence in Bengal, but Shah has made it his target to topple the government of Mamata Banerjee to form the first-ever BJP government.