Mamata Banerjee sees another release from TMC MLA, four releases in 24 hours

Trinamool MLA Shilbhadra Dutta left the party this morning.

Highlights

  • Suvendu Adhikari, Jitendra Tiwari had left yesterday
  • The resignation comes after Amit Shah’s visit to Bengal
  • Adhikari, a big deal for BJP, is said to have influence over 50 seats

Calcutta:

Today, Bengal Prime Minister Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress lost two more leaders, including an MLA, the day after two senior leaders left the party. Trinamool MLA Shilbhadra Dutta and minority cell leader Kabirul Islam stepped down today, making four big exits in 24 hours and deepening a crisis for the ruling Bengal party ahead of polls four months later.

Shilbhadra Dutta, the Barrackpore lawmaker, earlier this month openly resented what many rebels like him saw as “interference” from poll strategist Prashant Kishor in choosing candidates for state elections.

“I think I am unfit for the party in the current scenario. But I will not resign from MLA. Why should I resign from MLA? I won with people’s votes. If I go, where will they go?” Dutta told reporters after emailing his resignation to the Prime Minister.

Yesterday Suvendu Adhikari resigned from Trinamool. Jitendra Tiwari of Pandaveswar announced hers.

Policeman Diptanshu Chowdhury (retd) also resigned from his post of South Bengal State Transport Corporation and head of the state’s complaints monitoring cell. Yesterday he sent his letter to Mamata Banerjee and the governor. Colonel Chowdhury had joined Trinamool from the BJP and was an observer for the Asansol region for the party and an associate of Mr. Tiwari

Many more resignations are taking place at the lower levels of the party.

Consecutive releases from Trinamool come just before BJP leader Amit Shah’s visit to Bengal.

“The speed with which TMC’s MLAs resign, Pishi (aunt) must perhaps consider setting up a resignation collection center in her office …” grinned BJP social media chief Amit Malviya in a tweet referring to Mamata Banerjee as “aunt”.

Many of the rebels are expected to switch to BJP with much fanfare, in the presence of Amit Shah.

What is quickly looking like an exodus is troubling for Trinamool as it faces the BJP’s aggressive campaign to oust it from power in Bengal. It started with Mukul Roy, who was practically the Prime Minister’s right-hand man when he resigned and joined the BJP in 2017. Mr. Roy, facing the investigation into the Narada sting operation case and the Sharada scam ponzi, seems to have played a big problem. role in the impressive BJP balance sheet in Bengal in last year’s elections in Lok Sabha.

Suvendu Adhikari, credited with creating Trinamool’s victory in the 2016 state elections, is a big deal for the BJP. Adhikari is said to have control over local leaders in more than 50 seats in the western part of the state.

Trinamool failed to appease him despite fielding senior leaders to carry him around. Senior leader Saugata Roy brought Mr. Adhikari Abhishek Banerjee and Prashant Kishor together and called the meeting a success. But the next day, Mr. Adhikari sent a message to Mr. Roy to say, “Excuse me, I can’t work like this anymore.”

Another Trinamool leader, Congressman Sunil Mondal, is also believed to be on the run.

Mamata Banerjee, in a recent demonstration 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 assembly elections.

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