TMC pulls ups socks, BJP ups ante after Suvendu Adhikari quits cabinet

Jolted by the resignation of party heavyweight Suvendu Adhikari, the ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal has started pulling up its socks, even as the Bharatiya Janata Party upped its ante against the ruling party on Saturday.

While TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee is expected to hold rallies in some of the districts where Adhikari has a support base starting with West Midnapore on December 7, the chief minister will also hold a virtual meeting with all district-level leaders on December 4.

On Saturday, Abhishek Banerjee, TMC MP and the chief minister’s nephew and poll strategist Prashant Kishor held a meeting with party leaders of Malda district.

Adhikari was an observer of five districts including Malda and East Midnapore overseeing party’s organisational network in the districts. TMC leaders from East Midnapore have been directed to remain present in the December 7 rally.

“The party leadership not only wants to take a stock but also wants to boost the morale of the party workers ahead of the polls after Friday’s double setback,” said a TMC leader.

The ruling party received a double blow on Friday with not just Adhikari quitting the cabinet, further widening his gap with the party, but another party veteran Mihir Goswami joining the BJP.

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BJP MP Arjun Singh had said a few days ago, “If Adhikari joins the BJP, the government will fall. The TMC party will come to an end.”

Even though senior leaders of the party said that both Adhikari and Goswami and a few other party leaders are seemingly peeved with Kishor and his way of functioning, the TMC still sounded hopeful and upbeat.

“Suvendu is still a party member. So talks can still be held. His mother is unwell so it may take some time. But I am hopeful,” said Saugata Roy, TMC MP, who had earlier held at least two rounds of talks with Adhikari.

Party insiders said that some of the TMC leaders from Malda were absent in the meeting called by Abhishek Banerjee and Kishor in Kolkata on Monday. Among the absentees was TMC’s Rajya Sabha MP Mausam Benazir Noor.

Meanwhile, the BJP sharpened its attack against the TMC with state president Dilip Ghosh saying that the TMC would meet its end within a month.

“Didi has failed in disaster management of the state and is now busy with the disaster management of the party. In a month from now, the TMC will come to an end. Goswami’s joining is just the beginning of TMC’s end,” Ghosh said, adding that BJP national president is likely to come to Bengal around December 8.

The TMC, however, lashed out against Ghosh saying that he was daydreaming.

Even though Adhikari was not available for his comments, he is scheduled to hold a non-political rally in West Midnapore on Sunday. Abhishek Banerjee is also scheduled to hold a rally on Sunday in South 24 Parganas. Meanwhile, supporters of Adhikari came up with fresh posters in Hooghly district.

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