Suvendu Adhikari resigns from the Trinamool Congress and may join the BJP on December 19 in the presence of Home Minister Amit Shah

Published : December 17, 2020 20:17 IST

Suvendu Adhikari. Photo: ASHOKE CHAKRABARTY

Suvendu Adhikari, who resigned from the West Bengal Assembly yesterday, followed it up by resigning from the Trinamool Congress today, He is likely to join the Bharatiya Janata Party on December 19 in the presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah in his home constituency of Purbo Medinipur. His severance of ties with the ruling party was always on the cards from the moment he quit Mamata Banerjee’s Cabinet on November 27.

In his resignation letter to Mamata Banerjee, Suvendu Adhikari wrote:

“I am writing to tender my resignation as a member of All India Trinamool Congress as well as from all other positions held by me in the party and its associate organs with immediate effect.

“I am thankful for all the challenges and opportunities that has been afforded to me and I will always value my time spent as a member of the party.”

Suvendu Adhikari’s departure ahead of the Assembly elections in the State in 2021 is seen as a huge blow for the Trinamool Congress, which will be trying to return to power for a third consecutive term. He is known not only for his mass appeal but also for his organisational skills and political influence over a wide area.

While the Trinamool leadership has been putting up a brave face in public, claiming that his resignation from the membership of the party will not hamper its prospects in the Assembly election, many within the party believe that it will be difficult to recover from this setback, particularly with an ascendant BJP poised to give a stiff fight.

Saugata Roy, Trinamool MP, said Suvendu Adhikari betrayed “not just Trinamool Congress but also the people of Tamluk and Nandigram [Adhikari’s political strongholds]. He surrendered himself on the altar of greed, and for this his political future will suffer.” However, following Suvendu Adhikari’s exit, Trinamool leaders fear mass exodus of party workers and leaders.

On December 16, after resigning from the State Assembly, Suvendu Adhikari held a meeting with several “disgruntled” Trinamool leaders and lawmakers. Today, almost immediately after his resignation from the party was made public, Jitendra Tiwari, another Trinamool MLA and president of the party’s Pashchim Bardhaman district unit and mayor of Asansol, resigned from the party. Tiwari was among those who attended the December 16 meeting. Diptangshu Chowdhury, another close aide of Mamata Banerjee and Adviser, Monitoring Cell on Programme Implementation of Government Welfare Services in the CMO [Chief Minister’s Office] and Chairman of the South Bengal State Transport Corporation, also resigned from his posts. He too had attended the meeting with Suvendu Adhikari. A retired Army officer, he had headed the BJP’s Intellectual Cell in Bengal in the past. He joined the Trinamool in 2017.

Kanishka Panda, one of Suvendu Adhikari’s close aides, told Frontline: “A saffron storm in brewing from Darjeeling to Digha and this Saturday [December 19], a political storm more powerful than Amphan is coming.” He was referring to the speculation that Suvendu Adhikari and several other Trinamool leaders will be joining the BJP on December 19 at a public rally that will be addressed by Amit Shah. According to Kanishka Panda, celebrations are already under way in Purbo Medinipur. “We have been bursting crackers, beating drums, smearing saffron powder on each other and distributing sweets,” he said, leaving little room for any doubt as to what Suvendu Adhikari’s next political step was going to be.