In a double jolt to the ruling TMC in West Bengal, Trinamool Congress (TMC) leaders Suvendu Adhikari and Jitendra Tiwari resigned from the primary membership of the party on Thursday. Adhikari, who quit as Nandigram MLA on Wednesday, tendered his resignation to party supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Adhikari is expected to join the BJP soon.
In his resignation letter, Adhikari said he was “thankful for all the challenges and opportunities” and would always value the time he spent as a member of TMC. Adhikari represented Nandigram constituency in Purba Medinipur district and was the face of the Nandigram movement, which catapulted Mamata Banerjee to power in 2011.
TMC leader Subrata Mukherjee said that one or two people leaving the party would have no effect on it. “TMC is a big party. The party’s fate does not depend on one or two persons. Is it possible? See the large number of people who turn out at the meetings of Mamata Banerjee,” PTI quoted Mukherjee as saying.
Adhikari, who had been distancing himself from the party over the last few months and addressing rallies outside the party banner, is expected to join the BJP along with a few rebel TMC leaders when Home Minister Amit Shah visits West Bengal on December 19-20.
BJP general secretary and the party’s West Bengal in-charge, Kailash Vijayvargiya, said, “He (Adhikari) is a very dynamic leader. If he wants to join BJP, he will be welcomed but it will depend on his decision.”
Indirectly targeting Adhikari, Mamata on Wednesday had said, “One or two come during the high tide and go out during the low. It doesn’t matter.”
“Those who were there in Trinamool from the first day, they are still here. They’ll continue to fight. Remember, they’ll not change their character. One changes his clothes but not ideology,” said the chief minister, who is on a three-day tour of North Bengal.
Suvendu had resigned from the state cabinet last month. Following this, Adhikari’s associate Kanishka Panda, who was the secretary of the TMC’s Purba Medinipur district, was expelled by the party.
Like Suvendu, some other party leaders had also criticised the party leadership of sidelining key leaders within the party. Before quitting the party, Jitendra Tiwari resigned as the chief of the Asansol Municipal Corporation. The development comes days after he accused the state government of depriving the industrial city of central funds under the smart city project.
Tiwari, the Trinamool Congress’s Paschim Bardhaman district president, also lauded Suvendu Adhikari as the second-most important leader of the party after Mamata Banerjee. “I have resigned from the post of the chairman of the Board of Administrators of Asansol Municipal Corporation. If I am not allowed to work, what will I do with the post? So, I have resigned,” he told reporters.
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