Kolkata: Over two weeks after he quit Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s cabinet, senior Trinamool Congress leader Suvendu Adhikari Wednesday tendered his resignation to the assembly Speaker and stepped down as an MLA.
He is expected to submit a separate letter to TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee making his decision of quitting the party official. Adhikari’s actions clear the decks for him to join the BJP.
According to a top BJP leader, Adhikari is scheduled to visit Delhi Thursday and likely to join the BJP there, following which he is expected to address a mass meeting in West Midnapore district in the presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
“He may also join in the public meeting that will be addressed by Amit Shahji on 19 December in the district,” the top BJP leader said. “The district also comes under his (Adhikari’s) area of operation and we are expecting a huge gathering there. We are still working with him on the schedule.”
A source close to Suvendu Adhikari told ThePrint that he is trying to get some TMC MLAs and an MP to join the BJP with him.
Adhikari, who had fallen out with Mamata Banerjee almost eight months ago, had been addressing meetings and public gatherings on his own without the Trinamool Congress banner.
Reacting to his resignation, Trinamool secretary general and minister Partha Chatterjee said, “Many leaders come and go, it does not change our party’s political course. We look up Didi for everything and nobody else. He left a party five months before elections. People are not fools, they can see everything.”
‘Proving his worth’
Adhikari waited for at least a fortnight after he stepped down as a minister and resigned from all other government positions, before quitting the assembly Wednesday.
He had sought an appointment for Monday (14 December) but could not meet the Speaker on that day.
His actions have caused a stir in the TMC. Following his decision to quit the cabinet, a host of senior Trinamool leaders from West Midnapore district quit the party while some were expelled for ‘anti-party’ activities.
Adhikari is now likely to meet veteran MP Sunil Mondal of Burdwan East. Mondal has also expressed his displeasure at the functioning of the party, and has said that he was “willing to resign” as he would not be able to follow the “guidelines or instructions given by the hired agency”.
The Trinamool has hired poll strategist Prashant Kishor for the assembly elections next year.
“It is expected that we would get some more MLAs and an MP with Suvendu. They may join together. But nothing has been fixed yet. We are still working on it,” a second top BJP leader told ThePrint.
“Suvendu is also in discussion with some Trinamool leaders. He wants some more disgruntled leaders to join our party with him,” the leader added. “He is trying hard to prove his worth to the party. We welcome them all.”
Top sources in the BJP also claimed that Adhikari, who initially tried to bargain for the chief minister’s post if the party wins the 2021 election, has now agreed to work under the BJP high command’s decisions.
‘Trinamool must arrest this bleeding’
Reacting to Adhikari’s resignation, BJP’s national vice-president Mukul Roy said, “Suvendu is a leader of the mass movement that took place in Nandigram. Any leader who has risen from a mass movement, cannot stay in Trinamool Congress. The party is now standing on lies only. The people who are holding positions cannot be respected as leaders. If Suvendu wants to join us, he is welcome and he will be respected.”
BJP state president Dilip Ghosh echoed him. “We want such fighter leaders, Trinamool is a sinking ship now. It will fall apart soon.”
Meanwhile, MP and Bengal Congress chief Adhir Choudhury said, “Mamata Banerjee is now getting paid back in her own coin. The dirty game of poaching MLAs and breaking parties was started by her in Bengal. She is now facing her destiny.”
Adhikari’s decision of quitting Trinamool may trigger an exodus-like situation in some areas of south Bengal districts, including Burdwan, Murshidabad and a major part of tribal dominated Jangal Mahal, which covers almost four districts.
Prof Samir Das, a senior political analyst said, “The attrition rate suffered by the Trinamool Congress seems to be very high. This points towards a managerial issue. Suvendu’s case is not an isolated one, but surely a major one. If leaders like him, who are politically influential, leave, it is surely Trinamool’s loss. Mamata Banerjee is saying that people who want to leave, may leave. But if the party loses organisers like him, it is a loss. Trinamool has to arrest this bleeding.
“Suvendu used to be the one of her most trusted ones. He was assigned to consolidate Trinamool’s organisation in the most difficult districts like Malda and Murshidabad before the 2016 election. and he successfully did it. This shows that he is a mobiliser and an organiser. his waiting means, hundreds of others following him. it is a significant one for the party,” added Das.
Another political analyst, Biswanath Chakraborti, called it a “watershed moment in Bengal politics”.
“Suvendu is the only one in recent times who left all his positions before quitting the party. This shows his political ethics. And he also proved that he can mobilise people without staying in any position and with the help of the government’s machinery.”