BJP only means to fight 'corrupt, goon-infested TMC': Abhijit Gangopadhyay after quitting as judge

Calcutta High Court judge Justice Abhijit Gangopadhay at his residence after tendering resignation from his post.
Calcutta High Court judge Justice Abhijit Gangopadhay at his residence after tendering resignation from his post.

Kolkata | Abhijit Gangopadhyay announced on Tuesday that he has made up his mind to join the BJP, a brief while after he formally resigned as a judge of the Calcutta High Court.

Addressing a press conference, the former judge alleged that the Trinamool Congress was "synonymous with corruption" and he would fight it till the end.

Questioning Gangopadhyay's impartiality as a judge, the TMC slammed him claiming he was in touch with the saffron camp when he delivered judgments in various cases which indicted the party leaders.

"I will be joining the BJP, tentatively on March 7. I have selected the BJP as my party of choice since it is the only national party which is fighting against the corrupt and goon-infested TMC in Bengal," he said.

He added: "It's the TMC's direct attacks on me which inspired me to quit the judiciary and embrace politics".

Gangopadhyay, whose rulings on various education-related matters stirred political debates, refrained from giving a direct reply to whether he would contest the Lok Sabha polls.

"It is for the BJP leadership to decide whether they want me to fight the elections. I will accept whatever role the party assigns me," he said.

Gangopadhyay questioned the political culture of a section of Trinamool leaders who found it "fashionable to attack a judge instead of his judgment".

"TMC leaders have been abusing me for quite some time. They have little understanding that while they are at liberty to challenge my judgment, they can't verbally attack a judge. Such instigations only helped me to firm up my resolve to fight them in the larger sphere of politics" he said.

Gangopadhyay said his attempts to fight corruption while sitting in a judge's chair were limiting.

"A judge can only address a dispute when it reaches his bench in the form of a petition. However, there's a vast field of non-litigated cases which never reach the bench and can only be addressed by politics," he said, citing examples of corruption cases in 100-day work which were brought to his notice only after he put in his papers.

Maintaining that "the days of the TMC are numbered in Bengal," Gangopadhyay claimed: "The CPI (M)-led Left Front was decimated in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, ultimately leading to their defeat in the 2011 assembly polls. The TMC will also face the same fate in 2024 and get obliterated before 2026."

"The party is breaking from within. It won't last long," he added.

The former judge revealed that the decision to join the BJP was taken over the last week during which both Gangopadhyay and the party "approached each other".

"I was on leave for the last few days and got in touch with the BJP. They also contacted me. I felt this is the right platform to fight against the TMC," he said.

The former judge, however, insisted that he had stopped adjudicating during this period to avoid controversy over his political bias.

Gangopadhyay also maintained that his belief in God and deep religious attachments forbade him to inch towards the CPI(M) whose leaders, he said, "never publicly admit to practising their faith".

The Congress, the jurist claimed, "was the zamindari of one family which would never allow more able leaders in the party to rise in ranks beyond a point".

Asked about the allegations of corruption against Leader of the Opposition Suvendu Adhikari of the BJP, Gangopadhyay said it was "a cooked up case to frame him and other TMC leaders" to pave the way for a top TMC leader's accession in the party's power structure.

Responding to the development, TMC national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee, who had been at the crosshairs of Gangopadhyay's constant attack, said the former Calcutta High Court judge during his press conference had inadvertently confessed that "he was in touch with BJP when he delivered his judgments."

"First, the BJP leaders do not take my name and speak symbolically. Now the former Justice too has followed suit.

"Secondly, he spoke a simple truth which was most likely a slip of the tongue. He said, 'I approached the BJP and the BJP approached me.' This is very interesting and you have to read between the lines," he said.

Hence, he admitted that he was in touch with the BJP when he delivered his judgments, Banerjee claimed.

Senior TMC leader Kunal Ghosh said, "He can join any political party or group he wishes to. But the neutrality of previous judgments will always be questioned."

Elated over Gangopadhyay's decision, state BJP spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya said, "BJP is the only platform to fight against corruption. His decision to join the BJP only proves that."

Gangopadhyay sent his resignation letter to President Droupadi Murmu with copies to CJI DY Chandrachud and the Chief Justice of the Calcutta HC TS Sivagnanam on Tuesday morning.

He joined the Calcutta High Court as an additional judge on May 2, 2018. He was elevated as permanent judge on July 30, 2020.

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