Kolkata: State Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim on Saturday welcomed 10 councillors of the Naihati Municipality back into the TMC fold and alleged that they could have joined the BJP under duress.

The 10 councillers had joined the BJP in May this year.

“They were taken away after being terrorised but they threw away 'Lotus', trampled on it and returned to Trinamool,” Hakim said.

The minister claimed that those who follow principles of Mamata Banerjee and fight communalism can never go to BJP.

“Those who go, go out of fear — they fear the CBI, ED and the I-T department if they have a lot with them, why should we be scared? We are 'bhikhari', why should we be scared? ” he told ANI here.

He also said that followers of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee should not be scared of agencies like the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Income Tax department as they do not have much money.

The councillors of Naihati Municipality returned to TMC in the presence of Firhad Hakim and Chandrima Bhattacharya.

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With their return, the TMC tally in the 31-member municipality has risen to 23.