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I am a son of Bengal, will continue to serve the people: Suvendu

Adhikari, who resigned from the Mamata Banerjee cabinet last week, was seen on Thursday holdiing a rally here without banners or flags of the party.

By: PTI | Tamluk | Updated: December 3, 2020 5:05:03 pm
Suvendu Adhikari at a rally on Sunday. (Express photo by Partha Paul)

Disgruntled TMC leader Suvendu Adhikari Thursday said he will continue to serve the people of the state as a “son of Bengal and India”. His comment came amidst speculations over his next political move following the impasse in the dialogue between him and the party, which had claimed that differences with him had been sorted out.

Adhikari, who resigned from the Mamata Banerjee cabinet last week, was seen on Thursday holdiing a rally here without banners or flags of the party.

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The rally was held to mark the birth anniversary of freedom fighter Khudiram Bose in Tamluk sub-division of East Midnapore district. His supporters were seen carrying the national flag during the programme.

“The Constitution of our country speaks of government by the people, of the people and for the people. I am a son of Bengal and a son of India and will continue to serve the people of my state in that capacity,” Adhikari told reporters when asked about his present political stand.

His statement comes a day after leaders close to him had rejected the TMC leadership’s claim of a rapprochement with him as “false”, and said he is unpacified as his grievances have not been addressed.

They said Adhikari, an influential leader with a mass base who had resigned from the Mamata Banerjee cabinet and other positions that he held a few days ago, has maintained that it is “difficult for him to work with the party”.

Meanwhile, according to TMC sources, the party leadership has sent Adhikari a message on Thursday morning stating that “the details of the meeting were disclosed after all the issues were discussed and resolved.

“Now if you have changed your stand, it is your decision,” the message said.

Senior TMC leader Saugata Roy, who was among those who held talks with Adhikari to resolve the differences, said the “Party will not say anything more on the issue and now it is for him to speak up”.

Adhikari is said to be miffed at the way senior TMC leaders went to town on Tuesday claiming all differences with him had been sorted out after a high-level meeting that he had with TMC MPs Abhishek Banerjee, Saugata Roy and Sudip Bandopadhyay, besides election strategist Prashant Kishor.

Sources close to Adhikari said he did not want the details of what transpired at the meeting during the backchannel talks to be leaked to the media.

He has been incommunicado after the Tuesday night meeting. Repeated calls to the former minister for the last three days went unanswered.

All eyes are now on Adhikari’s sheduled press conference on December 6 at his hometown Kanthi in East Midnapore district.

Adhikari, a mascot of the Nandigram movement that added to the political heft of Mamata Banerjee and catapulted her to power, had resigned as minister of transport, irrigation and waterways last week, setting off speculation that he may quit the ruling TMC ahead of the state assembly polls next year.

Several rounds of backchannel talks to pacify the leader, believed to be unhappy over organisational changes and the growing clout of Abhishek Banerjee and Kishor, have come to nought.

Himself a two-term former MP, Adhikari’s father Sisir Adhikari and brother Dibyendu are sitting TMC MPs from Tamluk and Kanthi Lok Sabha constituencies respectively.

The family wields considerable influence in at least 40-45 assembly segments in West Midnapore, Bankura, Purulia, Jhargram, parts of Birbhum — mainly in the Junglemahal region and areas in minority-dominated Murshidabad.

The state polls are likely to be held in April-May next year.

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