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Opinion

TMC Hurts From Crisis, Says Rebel Leader Suvendu Adhikari Doesn’t Leave Party

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The Trinamool Congress (TMC) averted a major crisis on Tuesday night ahead of crucial assembly elections when its heavyweight leader Suvendu Adhikari told top leaders at a low-key meeting that he will not leave the party.

Adhikari had kept a distance from the TMC for more than two months. She stopped attending the office, prompting rumors that she might join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Taking another step, he resigned from the cabinet on Friday. He was in charge of three major departments, including transportation.

The most significant part of Tuesday’s meeting, held at an undisclosed location in North Kolkata, is that the prime minister’s nephew and Lok Sabha member Abhishek Banerjee and election strategist Prashant kishor were present at the meeting along with two high-ranking members of the Lok Sabha, Saugata Roy, and Sudip Bandopadhyay.

High-level TMC leaders told HT last month that Adhikari was unhappy with the organizational decisions made by Abhishek Banerjee and Kishor, who was caught after the BJP won 18 out of 42 state Lok Sabha seats in 2019. Adhikari and Banerjee even shot each other without taking names in recent public gatherings.

Significantly, high-level TMC leaders said that Adhikari, who was previously appointed an election observer for several districts, including Murshidabad, had demanded that people of his choice be elected next year from around 65 seats in the assembly. The leadership did not accept this.

“The conversations went very well. Suvendu said that he is very much in the party. I invited Abhishek Banerjee and Adhikari to sit down and talk. Adhikari will make his position public. He had been saying the whole time that he would not leave the TMC, ”Roy said after the two-hour talks. “I reported to the prime minister what came up at the meeting,” Roy told HT.

Roy and Bandopadhyay had been in conversation with Adhikari for the past two weeks under the instructions of Mamata Banerjee.

On Friday, a disgruntled Nandigram lawmaker in the East Midnapore district dealt a blow to TMC and Mamata Banerjee by resigning from the state cabinet. He also resigned from the Haldia Development Authority and the Hooghly River Bridge Commissioners. He was president of both bodies.

“This is a good development. What was happening was not good for the party, ”said Adhikari’s father and TMC’s top Lok Sabha member Sisir Adhikari. The former minister’s older brother is also a member of East Midnapore’s Lok Sabha.

“The TMC has shown great maturity in dealing with the crisis through conversations,” said Kolkata-based political science professor Udayan Bandopadhyay.

The head of the BJP’s Bengal unit, Dilip Ghosh, described the events as an internal TMC affair.

“This is an internal matter for TMC. Many TMC leaders have joined us. Many more will come in the future, ”Ghosh told a local news channel.

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