Suvendu Adhikari quits as TMC MLA, to join BJP on Saturday

NEW DELHI: Once a trusted lieutenant of TMC supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Suvendu Adhikari is likely to join the BJP on Saturday. If sources within the BJP and close to Adhikari are to be believed, the road for Adhikari’s formal induction into the party has been cleared and he is all set to join the BJP in the presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

Amit Shah would be visiting the East Midnapore district on Saturday. It is believed that Shah, who was earlier scheduled to visit Bongaon during his two days visit to West Bengal on the 19 and 20 December, has re-scheduled to visit East Midnapore to formally induct Adhikari into the party.

He resigned as the MLA from the West Bengal Legislative Assembly on Thursday. Adhikari had earlier resigned as the Minister from the Mamata Banerjee government. He is likely to bring a dozen MLAs along with him to the BJP. But sources close to Adhikari and the BJP say that the joining of the MLAs, that are likely to come with Adhikari, might not happen on Saturday itself but many would follow suit subsequently.

Sources aware of the development also say that Adhikari’s father Shishir Adhikari who is a TMC MP and president of TMC’s Midnapore district is also likely to quit the party soon. While Adhikari’s younger brother, who is also a TMC MP, could also follow the footsteps of his brother.

In the meantime, multiple TMC leaders have openly expressed their support for Adhikari in West Bengal and have put the TMC in a tough spot.

Political observers from West Bengal say that his exit from the TMC at the eleventh hour, just before the elections, could in a way cost the TMC heavily in the upcoming State Assembly polls.

Adhikari, considered as the architect of the Nandigram movement in West Bengal which eventually led to the fall of the 34-year Left rule in the state in 2011, is currently at loggerheads with Mamata Banerjee.

Ever since then, he is believed to have a strong influence in the Midnapore area of West Bengal, and according to locals from the East and West Midnapore, which has four Lok Sabha seats and 30 Assembly seats combined, Adhikari’s influence rules the roost. He is believed to be managing the elections for the TMC in these two districts ever since the party’s inception. 

Adhikari is also believed to have a strong influence in the neighbouring districts of Jhargram, Purulia and Bankura where he enjoys strong support from the local electorates. These three districts combined have over 19 Assembly seats.

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