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Resignation and an Expulsion: Trouble for Mamata Banerjee Worsens Ahead of Assembly Polls

File photo of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

File photo of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Barely hours after West Bengal Forest Minister Rajib Banerjee announced his decision to quit the Mamata cabinet in an emotional press meet, the Trinamool Congress expelled party MLA Vaishali Dalmia for going against the party line.

Hours after West Bengal Forest Minister Rajib Banerjee resigned from the Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Friday expelled its party MLA Vaishali Dalmia after a meeting of the disciplinary committee.

The decision to expel Dalmia came as for the last few months she has been publicly criticizing the party, sources said. Her accusations against the functioning of a few TMC leaders had intensified following the resignation of state minister and former cricketer Laxmi Ratan Shukla.

Recently, she had claimed that some people within the party and ‘outsiders’ (hinting at Prashant Kishor) were ‘eating up the TMC like termites’. She also alleged that efficient people were not being allowed to work independently for the greater interest of the people in the state.

READ MORE | Wanted to Quit as Bengal Minister in 2018 But Was Stopped by Mamata, Says a Teary-eyed Rajib Banerjee

Last month, Dalmia had hit headlines for going against TMC’s ‘outsider’ tag for BJP leaders coming to Bengal for campaigning. She also raised her voice against party leaders for terming Prime Minister Narendra Modi as an ‘outsider’.

Dalmia, who was a member of the West Bengal Legislative Assembly from Bally Constituency in Howrah district, is the daughter of veteran Indian cricket administrator and businessman Jagmohan Dalmiya. She joined TMC in 2016 – a few months after her father’s death on September 20, 2015.

Earlier in the day, Rajib Banerjee had resigned from Mamata Banerjee’s cabinet, claiming that he had been meaning to quit the party since 2018 when he was removed without any consultation from the state irrigation department.

While announcing his decision before the media in front of Raj Bhawan, Banerjee broke down and said, “I never thought that one day I will have to take this decision. I was hurt when Mamata Banerjee removed me from the irrigation department without any consultation.”

A teary-eyed Banerjee added, “The chief minister has every right to reshuffle her cabinet with other party leaders. But I was expecting basic courtesy from her. She should have informed me before making the decision. I was in the dark about the reshuffle despite giving my best to serve the department.”

Recently, several leaders have jumped ship to the BJP even as the Mamata-led party struggles to match the saffron party’s all-out approach to wrest power from her in the upcoming assembly polls. Some others are waiting for the right time to join the saffron brigade, said sources.

Apart from party heavyweight Suvendhu Adhikari, Shukla, TMC MP Sunil Mondal and Arindam Bhattacharya have also resigned from the West Bengal government.

Mamata, on the other hand, has accused the BJP of poaching and asserted that the TMC will still form the government in Bengal ‘as the people of this state are with her’.