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As India votes, a savvy Calcutta politician shows pragmatism trumps ideology

KOLKATA, India — For decades, Tapas Roy’s influence permeated his local district like the summer heat of West Bengal. He found work for the unemployed. He managed a university scholarship for the poor. He granted allowances to widows.

In March, the longtime local politician left his secular, centrist party, the Trinamool Congress, and accepted an offer from the BJP, a right-wing Hindu nationalist party, to run for Parliament in the ongoing national elections . In the United States, it would be difficult to imagine Florida Governor Ron DeSantis running for president as a Democrat after failing to secure the Republican nomination in 2024. But in North Calcutta, voters in Trinamool veterans shrugged their shoulders when Roy crossed the aisle, saying they would support So did Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party.


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