Kolkata: The strength of Opposition Congress and Left Front dwindled further in the West Bengal Assembly with the desertion of three Congress MLAs and a CPI(M) MLA in favour of the ruling Trinamool Congress on Monday.
This takes the total number of Congress MLAs to seven legislators who have switched over to TMC since the Assembly polls in 2011.
The joining of the three MLAs, apart from a CPI(M) legislator, which further consolidated the strength of TMC that enjoyed a two-third majority in the 294-member Assembly, was announced in the presence of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at a huge party rally here.
The switch-over comes at a time when a number of workers from the Left Front, Congress as well as TMC have recently joined the BJP which could not win a seat in the 2009 Assembly polls, but managed to wrest two Lok Sabha seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
TMC All India General Secretary Mukul Roy announced that Asit Kumar Mal of Hansan, Md Ghulam Rabbani of Goalpokher and Umapada Bauri of Para joined the TMC from Congress.
It effectively brought down the total strength of Congress to 35 from 42 in the Assembly.
Though the Congress had won 42 seats in the 2011 Assembly elections in the state, seven MLAs subsequently deserted the party to join the TMC, with which it had fought the elections jointly.
The alliance broke in September 2012 when Mamata Banerjee decided to withdraw support to the UPA II government at the Centre and the Congress also withdrew its ministers from the West Bengal Cabinet.
Chaya Dolui, a CPI(M) MLA from Chandrakona in West Midnapore district, also joined the TMC, bringing down its strength from 40 to 39 in the Assembly.
Apart from these, hundreds of local leaders and workers of various opposition parties from different parts of the state joined the TMC at the rally.