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Bengal: Sports Minister Laxmiratan Shukla quits Cabinet; Mamata say ‘no misunderstanding’

The development, which comes days after several Trinamool Congress leaders joined the BJP, has sparked speculations that Shukla could also be be joining the BJP ahead of party's national president JP Nadda visit to the state.

Written by Atri Mitra | Kolkata | Updated: January 5, 2021 8:53:31 pm
Former cricketer Laxmiratan Shukla (right) with Mamata Banerjee at a public event.

In yet another setback to the ruling Trinamool Congress party in West Bengal, minister and former cricketer Laxmiratan Shukla resigned from the Mamata Banerjee cabinet on Tuesday.

The development, which comes days after several Trinamool Congress leaders joined the BJP, has sparked speculations that Shukla could also be joining the saffron party ahead of party’s national president JP Nadda visit to the state.

Shukla is a key figure of TMC in Howrah district, where another minister, Rajib Banerjee, and MLA of Bally constituency and daughter of Jagmohan Dalmia, Baishali Dalmia, have already rebelled. There are talks that these leaders will also quit party soon and cross over to the BJP.

He has also resigned from the post of Howrah district president post of TMC. Shukla said he has stepped down as Minister of Youth Services and Sports as he wanted to concentrate more on cricket. He continues to be a TMC MLA.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the resignation of Shukla had been accepted. “Laxmi can resign, it does not matter. He is a good boy. It’s okay that he left to rejoin cricket. In his letter he has not written of resigning from the ministry but has expressed his wish to retire from all forms of politics and concentrate on sports and give more time to it,” Banerjee told reporters at the secretariat.

“He (Shukla) has asked to be relieved from all other responsibilities. So I have recommended the governor to accept his resignation. I wish him to good luck and there is no misunderstanding between us,” she added.

Meanwhile, welcoming Shukla’s decision, BJP spokesperson Shamik Bhattacharya said, “Shukla is a very good man and also a known cricket personality. we will welcome him if he wants to join BJP.”

TMC leader Saugata Roy said, “This is very unfortunate. I am very hurt with his decision. I don’t know what made him do this. He was a very good cricketer and good human being. If he had some problems within the party, he should have talked with the leadership. However, this is a cabinet issue. Mamata Banerjee will take a call on this.”

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