BH CORRESPONDENT, Kolkata: Rebel Trinamool Congress leader and former Bengal transport minister Suvendu Adhikari is likely to end months of suspense this week by formally joining the BJP.
Adhikari has been at loggerheads with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and has not been attending state Cabinet meetings. His induction is likely to happen during Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit to the state later this week. Adhikari is expected to travel to Delhi before switching sides. He is also expected to be given security by the Union home ministry, formalities for which are currently in the process.
The Trinamool Congress has already decided that it will not take any further initiative to convince disgruntled Adhikari to remain in the party. However, the party is open to hear him — if at all he has to say something to Mamata Banerjee.
For the last few months, Adhikari was seen addressing rallies without using TMC symbols and flags. In all the rallies, a sea of people claiming to be ‘Amra Dadar Anugami’ (elder brother’s followers) were seen marching behind Adhikari.
On November 27, Adhikari raised the political temperature by resigning from Mamata Banerjee’s cabinet. He quit as minister for transport and irrigation, but remains a Trinamool MLA.
Suvendu Adhikari was the key man behind Banerjee’s movement in Nandigram in East Midnapore in 2007 which helped her oust the 34-year Left Front rule in Bengal.
On December 2, he reportedly expressed his dismay through a WhatsApp message to party MP Saugata Roy over details of the meeting (to resolve the differences between him and the party) being leaked to the media claiming that all the ‘issues’ were resolved.
Adhikari, in his message, mentioned that he was supposed to address the media on December 6 but he didn’t like the way details of the meeting were shared to journalists before his scheduled press conference.
Interestingly, as BJP goes gaga over Adhikari, ground reality suggests that TMC has lost nine Lok Sabha seats out of 13 where he is known as a mass leader and believed to have enough clout among the people in Purulia, Jhargram, Murshidabad, Malda, East Midnapore, West Midnapore, Bankura and Bishnupur.
In total, there are 13 Lok Sabha seats and 86 Assembly seats in Purulia, Murshidabad, Malda, West Midnapore, Jhargram, East Midnapore, Bankura and in Bishnupur where Suvendu Adhikari is believed to be an excellent taskmaster in booth management.
However, going with the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, except four seats — which are Kanthi (won by Suvendu’s father Sishir Adhikari on TMC ticket but BJP gained by 33.54 per cent vote share while Sishir loses 3.82 per cent vote share), Tamluk (won by Suvendu’s brother Dibyendu on TMC ticket but BJP gained by 30.54 percent vote share while Dibyendu loses 3.52 percent vote share), Jangipur (won by TMC’s Khalilur Rahman who defeated BJP’s Mafuja Khatun), and Murshidabad (won by TMC’s Abu Taher Khan) — all the seats were lost by the ruling TMC.
To be precise, BJP all alone managed to win a significant seven out of 13 seats (two seats including Berhampur and Malda South went to Congress) and made deep inroads in these districts which is claimed to be Suvendu Adhikari’s bastion.