Yesterday, Trinamool MLA Quits Suvendu Adhikari and Jitendra Tiwari handed in their resignations and both are expected to join the BJP anytime now.
Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress lost two more leaders today, including an MLA, a day after two senior leaders quit the party. Trinamool MLA Shilbhadra Dutta and minority cell leader Kabirul Islam quit today, making it four big exits in 24 hours and deepening a crisis for Bengal’s ruling party ahead of polls four months away.
Shilbhadra Dutta, the lawmaker from Barrackpore, had earlier this month openly resented what many rebels like him saw as “interference” by poll strategist Prashant Kishor in the choice of candidates for the state election.
“I think that I am unfit in the party in the present scenario. But, I will not resign as an MLA. Why should I resign as an MLA? I have won by people’s votes. If I go, where will they go?” Mr Dutta told reporters after emailing his resignation to the Chief Minister.
Yesterday, Suvendu Akhikari handed in his resignation from Trinamool. Jitendra Tiwari of Pandaveswar announced his.
Cop Diptanshu Chowdhury (retd) also resigned from the post of South Bengal State Transport Corporation and head of the state’s grievance monitoring cell. He sent his letter to Mamata Banerjee as well as the governor yesterday. Col Chowdhury had joined the Trinamool from the BJP and was observer for the Asansol region for the party and an associate of Mr Tiwari.
Many other resignations are taking place at lower tiers of the party.
The back-to-back exits from Trinamool come just ahead of BJP leader mit Shah’s visit to Bengal.
“The rate at which TMC MLAs are resigning, Pishi (aunt) must perhaps consider setting up a resignation collection center in her office…,” sneered BJP’s social media chief Amit Malviya in a tweet referring to Mamata Banerjee as “aunt”.
Many of the rebels are expected to cross over to the BJP with much fanfare, in the presence of Amit Shah.
What is rapidly looking like an exodus is worrying for the Trinamool MLA Quits as it confronts the BJP’s aggressive campaign to oust it from power in Bengal. It started with Mukul Roy, who was practically the Chief Minister’s right-hand man when he quit and joined the BJP in 2017. Mr Roy, facing investigations in the Narada sting operation case and the Sharada ponzi scam, is seen to have played a big role in the BJP’s impressive Bengal tally in last year’s Lok Sabha elections.
Suvendu Adhikari, credited with crafting the Trinamool’s victory in the 2016 state election, is a big catch for the BJP. Mr Adhikari is said to have control over local leaders in more than 50 seats in the western part of the state.
The Trinamool failed to placate him despite fielding senior leaders to bring him around.
Another Trinamool leader, MP Sunil Mondal, is also believed to be on his way out.
Mamata Banerjee, at a recent rally in Cooch Behar, said: “Some people will come and go with the tide. But the real Trinamool is intact.”
Amit Shah has set a target of 200 of the state’s 294 seats for the assembly polls.