Guwahati: Former Congress MP Sushmita Dev quit the party today and joined the Trinamool Congress of Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, taking by surprise many in her former party who even went on Twitter to reach out to her.
The change in her Twitter bio to “Former Member” of the party was the first clue this morning that she had quit. Though her resignation letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi surfaced soon, the party officially denied her exit and even the letter.
Ms Dev met with senior Trinamool leaders including Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee and Derek O’Brien before formally joining the party.
She offered no reason in her letter to Sonia Gandhi for quitting her party of three decades, only talking about a “new chapter of public service”.
Sources say she had been unhappy with the Congress leadership for some months, especially over the decision to tie up with the AIUDF in the April-May Assam election. She also had a disagreement with the state Congress leadership over the choice of poll candidates. She almost quit in March but was persuaded by the Gandhi to stay, say sources.
The daughter of Assam Congress stalwart and influential Bengali leader Santosh Mohan Dev, she was chief of the Congress’s women’s wing, the All India Mahila Congress.
She had earlier been an MP from Silchar in Assam, the stronghold of her father.
Her family had been in the Congress for four generations; she was the party’s top leader in Assam’s Barak valley region.