Kolkata

Suvendu, host of TMC leaders join BJP at Amit Shah’s rally

Ex-TMC leader Suvendu Adhikari joins the BJP during a rally addressed by Union Home Minister Amit Shah in West Bengal, December 19, 2020   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

West Bengal on Saturday witnessed one of the biggest political defections in recent times, with a host of Trinamool Congress leaders, including former Minister and heavyweight leader Suvendu Adhikari, joining the BJP at a rally addressed by Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

Six MLAs of the Trinamool Congress, one each from the Communist Party of India (Marxist) , the Communist Party of India and the Congress joined the BJP. Sitting TMC MP from Bardhaman Purba Sunil Kumar Mondal also defected to the BJP. Along with Mr. Adhikari, who represents the Nandigram Assembly seat, the other MLAs who switched sides are Banashri Maity, MLA from Kanthi Uttar; Biswajit Kundu, MLA from Kalna; Saikat Panja, MLA from Monteshwar; Silbhadra Dutta, Barrackpore MLA; Sukra Munda, MLA from Nagrakata; and Dipali Biswas, Gazole MLA.

Tapashi Mondal, CPI(M) MLA from Haldia; Ashok Dinda, CPI MLA from Tamluk; and Sudip Mukherjee, Congress MLA representing Purulia, joined the BJP. Other than the lawmakers, a number of district-level leaders of the Trinamool Congress, including some from the minority community, also joined the BJP.

Mr. Adhikari joining the BJP, which comes after months of speculation of his political future, is being seen as the most significant political development ahead of the 2021 Assembly elections. The Trinamool Congress’s biggest challenge seems to be keeping its flock of leaders together as the development today may trigger exodus of other leaders from the party.

Mamata will be left alone: Shah

Speaking at the rally, Mr. Shah said the tsunami, which he was witnessing in West Bengal, would leave Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee alone by the time when elections are held.

“Mamata ji is alleging that the BJP is trying to break the party. I want to ask you is the Trinamool Congress your original party or did you defect from the Congress and founded the Trinamool Congress,” Mr. Shah asked. He also raised the issue of attack on BJP president J.P. Nadda’s convoy at Diamond Harbour, saying the BJP would not be cowed down by such attacks.

Mr. Adhikari, addressing the rally, said he was joining the BJP not to give directions to State BJP leaders but to work as an ordinary worker by carrying flags and painting wall graffiti if required. The TMC had allied with the BJP when the party was formed and was also a constituent of the National Democratic Alliance under the leadership of Atal Behari Vajpayee. There cannot be development of the State as long as there is not the government of one party at the State and the Centre.

“They are saying that I have betrayed my mother. The name of my mother is Gayatri Adhikari and if there is any other mother, it is Bharat Mata,” he said. He claimed that the Trinamool Congress would not form the government in the 2021 Assembly polls and would finish second to the BJP.

Both Mr. Shah and Mr. Adhikari targeted Ms. Banerjee's nephew and MP Abhishek Banerjee. While Mr. Shah alleged that Ms. Mamata Banerjee had converted her party’s slogan of ‘Maa Maati Maanush’ (Mother, Earth, Humanity) to “extortion, corruption and pandering to the nephew”, Mr. Adhikari was more direct in his attack “What I do, I do with integrity. When I was with Trinamool, I worked for Trinamool, and today I say, throw out the extortionist nephew!” he said, throwing a challenge at the Trinamool Congress.

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2021 6:13:57 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/suvendu-adhikari-joins-bjp-amit-shahs-rally-in-west-bengal/article33371682.ece

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