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By Bappaditya Paul

Kolkata: Ten days ago, on 19 January, Congress’ leader in the Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, attended the anti-BJP mammoth rally in Kolkata hosted by Trinamool.

Kharge even read out a speech by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi to the audience wherein she said that the coming Lok Sabha polls will be decisive to retain India’s secular characteristics.

Cut to Act-II, Scene-I: Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool has poached yet another Congress elected representative in Bengal.

By all analysis, this is hardly going to strengthen the anti-BJP collation that Congress has been pitching for!

The latest defector is Mausam Benazir Noor (39), the two-time Congress MP from Malda North Lok Sabha constituency. She joined the Trinamool this evening at Bengal state secretariat Nabanna in the presence of Mamata Banerjee and her Cabinet colleague Suvendu Adhikari.

Adhikari is in-charge of the Trinamool organisation in Malda and Murshidabad. In the last two years, he has been successful in herding in multiple MLAs and MPs of the Congress and Left Front to the Trinamool.

Noor is his latest success. Sources in Trinamool informed that there are more Scenes left in Act-II of this drama. A few more Congress leaders are likely to change camp ahead of the Lok Sabha polls due in May.

Asked by reporters, Noor justified her joining the Trinamool. “Mamata Banerjee is the only viable Opposition face in India now. We shall fight the BJP under her leadership: will do whatever is needed but will not concede an inch of ground to BJP.”

It’s a different point though that the Congress, which she has deserted just now, has been trying to project Rahul Gandhi as the challenger to Narendra Modi.

Noor belongs to Malda’s famed Congress family of late Ghani Khan. She joined electoral politics in 2009. That year, she won a Bengal Assembly by-poll from Sujapur seat in Malda that had fallen vacant following the death of her MLA mother.

Later that year, Congress fielded her from the Malda North LS seat and she got elected an MP.

In 2014, she got re-elected to the Lok Sabha on Congress ticket. She was made the Congress’ Malda district president.

Trinamool sources said that she will contest from the same seat in the coming LS polls on the party’s ticket.