In an embarrassment to the BJP in West Bengal, the tribal family of Naxalbari who had hosted BJP national president Amit Shah during his visit to north Bengal last week, joined the Trinamool Congress on Wednesday.
Raju Mahali and Geeta Mahali, who had hosted Amit Shah on April 25 during his visit to the area, joined the TMC in the presence of senior TMC leader and tourism minister Gautam Deb.
"I was inspired by the developmental work of Mamata Banerjee and that is why we have joined the TMC. Nobody has forced us to join the party," Geeta Mahali later said.
A stung BJP, however, accused the TMC of 'kidnapping' the family and forcing them to join the party, but Deb said they had been inspired by the life and struggle of Mamata Banerjee and so joined the party.
West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh said, "We had reports that they were being threatened by TMC goons. They had been missing for the last two days. We also filed an FIR after that they had gone missing. They were kidnapped by the TMC and forced to join the party. We condemn such act."
During his north Bengal trip, Shah had eaten his lunch sitting on the floor of Raju Mahali's modest house at Dakkhin Katiajote village in the Naxalbari area. BJP's West Bengal unit president Dilip Ghosh also also had lunch there.