Calcutta High Court Judge Abhijit Gangopadhyay Resigns, To Join BJP

New Delhi:

Calcutta High Court Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay – who confirmed his resignation just a few hours earlier – has said he will join the Bharatiya Janata Party, possibly on Thursday afternoon. “Maybe on March 7, in the afternoon. There is a tentative program when I will join the BJP,” he said.

Speaking to reporters in Kolkata, he also lavished praise on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whom he called a “very hardworking man”, and ripped into the ruling Trinamool Congress, which he sarcastically declared had “inspired” him to enter electoral politics.

“Trinamool is imploding… it means corruption. PM Modi is a very hardworking man and he is trying to do something for this country,” he declared and took swipes at the other opposition parties, “I believe in God and religion, but CPIM does not and the Congress is the zamindari of one family.”

Justice Gangopadhyay – who made headlines last year, after an interview in which he discussed a bribery case he was hearing – is widely expected to be fielded by the BJP in the general election.

There is speculation he could contest the Tamluk seat, which has been a bastion of the ruling Trinamool Congress in recent elections; the party has held it since the 2009 election

The seat was held by Suvendu Adhikari (between 2009 and 2016, when he quit), who was widely seen as Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s right-hand man till his incendiary switch to the BJP.

Earlier today Justice Gangopadhyay confirmed his resignation, telling reporters, “I am going to meet the Chief Justice for a courtesy visit. I have already sent my resignation to the President.”

He also said he had planned to hold a press conference, but “it skipped my mind that prohibitory orders (banning large gatherings) are in place”. “So I will hold it at my home…” he had said.

Justice Gangopadhyay, who announced his decision to quit on Sunday, had received an invitation to join politics from Trinamool spokesperson Kunal Ghosh, to which he had replied, “He has said lot of things against me as a political spokesperson, but I like him as a person. He is a good human being”.

Apart from the interview about the bribery case he was hearing – in connection with which Supreme Court Chief Justice DY Chandrachud said “judges have no business granting interviews on pending matters” – Justice Gangopadhyay has frequently made headlines with rulings on various issues.

For example, earlier this year he accused Justice Soumen Sen – who led a bench that stayed an order for a CBI probe into college irregularities – of working for a political party.

The matter is pending in the top court.

READ | In Judge vs Judge, Supreme Court Stays Calcutta High Court Case

In December last year Justice Gangopadhyay’s order to arrest a lawyer in the courtroom on contempt charges sparked a huge row, with the bar association adamant on boycotting all proceedings involving the judge. He was hearing a case related to the state’s Madrasah Service Commission.

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