Suvendu Adhikari resigns as TMC MLA

West Bengal, Dec 16: Disgruntled Trinamool Congress leader Suvendu Adhikari resigns from the membership of the West Bengal Legislative Assembly on Wednesday amid indications that he would join the BJP during Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit to the state on December 19-20. Adhikari, who was MLA from Nandigram, submitted his handwritten resignation to Speaker of the Assembly Biman Banerjee.

The growing rift between the TMC and Suvendu Adhikari became apparent after he resigned from the post of a minister in the Mamata Banerjee cabinet. The 49-year-old leader was in charge of the department of transport, irrigation and waterways. Around the same time, Suvendu Adhikari also resigned from the post of chairman of the Hooghly River Bridge Commission.

On Sunday, the Trinamool Congress expelled a leader of its East Midnapore district unit, Kanishka Panda, considered close to party heavyweight Suvendu Adhikari.

As of now it is expected that Adhikari will join the BJP at the (East Midnapore) rally,” said a BJP source. However, sources also said that Adhikari had earlier gone back on two dates of joining that he had committed to the party leadership.

On Tuesday, BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya called up Adhikari to wish him on his birthday, further fuelling speculation. Adhikari, an influential leader with a mass base, could influence votes in at least 40 Assembly constituencies in six districts.

Suvendu’s rise began after Mamata’s Nandigram movement in Purba Medinipur in 2007, which he closely coordinated on the ground. The Nandigram agitation played a powerful role in ending the Left Front’s 34-year-rule in the Assembly election of 2011. Mamata was impressed, and over the years that followed, she gave respect and importance to Suvendu and his family, and rewarded them for their dedication to the TMC.