New Delhi/Kolkata: Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader and four-time legislator from West Bengal Arjun Singh Thursday joined the BJP, giving a boost to the saffron party's prospects in the state for the Lok Sabha elections.
Singh joined the BJP in the presence of party general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya and West Bengal BJP leader Mukul Roy in the national capital.
However, the TMC refused to give much importance to Singh switching over to the saffron party and challenged him to seek a re-election from his assembly seat on a BJP ticket.
Addressing the media at the BJP office in Delhi, Singh said he was shocked at Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's comments on the Pulwama terror attack.
"I gave 30 years to Mamata Banerjee. I was shocked at her comments on the Pulwama terror attack. Her statement has shaken the country.
"When the Indian Air Force carried out the strike, she demanded the body count of terrorists. If a leader does not have national interest on her mind then she cannot do any good to her voters," Singh said.
Singh, the four-time MLA from Bhatpara in North 24 Parganas district, is likely to contest on a BJP ticket in the Lok Sabha polls against TMC heavyweight and former railway minister Dinesh Trivedi, sources said.
They added that Singh was upset with Banerjee for not giving him a ticket for the polls.
"Earlier the TMC used to stand for Maa, Mati, Manush, now it is only money, money and money," Singh said attacking Banerjee.
Singh is the latest entry into the BJP from the TMC. Earlier, expelled TMC MP Anupam Hazra joined the saffron party.
The BJP is aiming to get a sizeable number of seats in West Bengal in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.
"Arjun Singh has been in touch with BJP leaders for quite some time. It hardly matters whether or not he is with us. What matters in the TMC is Mamata Banerjee," TMC's North 24 Parganas district president Jyotipriyo Mullick told PTI.
"If he has the guts, he should resign and seek re-election from his Bhatpara assembly seat. I can assure you, he will lose his deposits," he said.
The Bhatpara assembly seat falls under the Barrackpore Lok Sabha constituency held by Trivedi.
Singh was at loggerheads with Trivedi, a two-time party MP from Barrackpore. He had even told Banerjee that renominating Trivedi from Barrackpore would affect the party's prospects in the election.
But Banerjee decided to re-nominate Trivedi and appointed Singh as his campaign manager.
Singh had expressed his anger against the TMC while speaking to reporters Wednesday.
Reacting to Singh's defection, Trivedi said it will not have an impact as he is confident of winning elections for the third time.