Saturday afternoon came as a big blow to the BJP with MP Babul Supriyo joining the TMC.
Supriyo had differences with BJP since the day he was dropped as a Union minister. Sources inside the TMC said Supriyo's joining was the handiwork of national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee, who brought him on board.
The talks had apparently been on for the last two months and party insiders say this was the reason for Arpita Ghosh resigning as an MP since TMC is likely to nominate Supriyo in her place for Rajya Sabha. Sources say Supriyo might resign as Lok Sabha MP from the BJP and reach Parliament as a Rajya Sabha MP.
Supriyo has a national presence and therefore TMC zeroed on him. TMC told him to keep this under wraps. When Supriyo was announced as a star campaigner for Bhabanipur by the BJP, he categorically pointed out that he will not campaign.
Sources say TMC's strategy was to give a big blow to the BJP before Bhabanipur and hence the joining took place today.
TMC thinks Supriyo has a national presence, including in the North East, Jharkhand, Bihar and Odisha region. TMC is planning to start more activity in Delhi and Supriyo can give a national perspective to TMC, the party feels.
Saugata Roy, TMC MP welcomed Babul and said: "This is just the start more big people from BJP will come soon." Rupa Ganguly BJP MP said she was shocked. "There were problems but that does not mean he will leave," she said. The TMC camp is meanwhile saying that there is a "silent revolution in BJP" with many eager to jump ship but they will take people according to their choice.