Kolkata, July 31: Within a little more than a year of switching over to the BJP, Biplab Mitra, a prominent leader of North Bengal, returned to the Trinamool Congress on Friday. Mitra, a former Trinamool Congress MLA from Harirampur in South Dinajpur district, who had switched over to the saffron camp in June last year, said the return to the TMC is like "a homecoming" for him.

Mitra said he wanted to put up a united fight against the "conspiracy that is being plotted against West Bengal". "We are happy to welcome Biplab Mitra. Mamata Banerjee during the Martyr's day rally on July 21 had asked the old- timers to return to the party fold. He has responded to it," TMC secretary-general Partha Chatterjee said. Jyotiraditya Scindia Joins BJP in Presence of JP Nadda, Trouble Mounts For Kamal Nath-Led Congress Government in Madhya Pradesh.

The process of reinduction of the old guards, who had left the party for some reasons, has already begun, he said. Mitra along with his supporters and younger brother Parasanta, former chairman of Gangarampur Municipality in South Dinajpur, rejoined the party. Mitra, who had been part of the TMC since its inception in 1998, was district president of South Dinajpur.

He was considered to be one of the architects of the TMC's rise in the district but was removed from the post after the Lok Sabha polls debacle. Following the BJP's stupendous performance in Lok Sabha elections, Mitra, known to be a close aide of BJP leader Mukul Roy during his days in TMC, had joined the saffron camp in New Delhi on June 25 last year.

The BJP has emerged as the main opposition party in West Bengal by winning 18 out of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state in 2019, bringing down the TMC's tally to 22 from 34. In one of the biggest organisational reshuffle in TMC last week, South Dinajpur district president Arpita Ghosh, with whom Mitra had differences, was replaced with Goutam Das.

Das is considered to be a close aide of Mitra. The BJP leadership is yet to react to the development. However, a state BJP leader said it is an "embarrassment for the party as it failed to retain the leaders who had joined the saffron camp from other parties".