TMC’s Rajib Banerjee resigns as legislator

Besides Rajib Banerjee, Baishali Dalmiya (Trinamool MLA from Bally, Howrah) and Prabir Ghosal (Trinamool MLA from Uttarpara in Hooghly) have publicly expressed their ire against the party. While some have resigned from their posts, others have been suspended by the party.

On a day that Union Home Minister Amit Shah was scheduled to visit West Bengal, Rajib Banerjee, Domjur MLA and former minister in the Mamata Banerjee Cabinet, resigned as member of the Legislative Assembly, triggering a fresh round of speculation that he could be joining the BJP.

Shah, however, cancelled his visit late Friday, with the Bengal BJP citing “unavoidable circumstances” and the “situation in Delhi”.

Bengal BJP leaders said they are trying for an alternative ‘national leader’ to attend the rally on Sunday at Dumurjola stadium in Howrah that Shah was to address.

Earlier, hinting at “surprises” during Shah’s visit, BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said, “Bengal is standing on the edge of poribartan and many people from different parties are trying to join us. We have kept the doors open. We do not have the list here. Obviously there will be surprises during Amit Shah ji’s public meeting.”

According to party sources, former cabinet ministers, MLAs and leaders from Howrah, Hooghly and Nadia districts were likely to join the BJP at the January 31 rally.

Besides Rajib Banerjee, Baishali Dalmiya (Trinamool MLA from Bally, Howrah) and Prabir Ghosal (Trinamool MLA from Uttarpara in Hooghly) have publicly expressed their ire against the party. While some have resigned from their posts, others have been suspended by the party.

A week ago, Banerjee had stepped down as minister. Speculation was then rife that he may quit the ruling party to join the BJP ahead of the crucial Assembly elections due in the state. When asked on Friday if he would join the BJP, Banerjee said, “In a democratic situation, I cannot work alone without the banner of a large political party. I will let you know if I take any decision. But so far, I have just resigned as a minister and an MLA. I have not resigned from the TMC yet.”

Sources, however, said that after submitting his resignation to Speaker Biman Banerjee, Rajib Banerjee sent his resignation letter to the Trinamool Congress, resigning as a primary member of the party.

“Many good leaders are quitting the party because there is no scope for good work. I was insulted in the party. I want to continue to work for the people. One needs to join a party to do so. My first choice is the BJP,” Baishali Dalmiya told the media.

“I have decided to choose a new path. I will contest the Assembly polls from Howrah. I cannot rule out the possibility,” said Rathin Chakraborty, former Howrah mayor and Trinamool leader, when asked if he would be present at the BJP’s Howrah rally.

The Trinamool, however, dismissed the political clout of these leaders. “With due respect to them, the names I hear have never come up through a mass movement. Now they are acting on a script,” said TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh.

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