West Bengal political heavyweight Suvendu Adhikari joined the BJP along with nine MLAs of different parties and a TMC MP at Union home minister Amit Shah's rally in Midnapore on Saturday, ending weeks of speculation. Adhikari resigned from the Trinamool Congress earlier this week, besides giving up his cabinet portfolios in the Mamata Banerjee government. He has also resigned as an MLA, but it is yet to be accepted.
In an open letter addressed to the grassroots members of the Trinamool Congress, Adhikari said West Bengal is standing at a critical juncture as the people of the state are destined to make a choice in the 2021 Assembly elections that will impact them forever. Adhikari said that "an extremely deep rot and malaise" has set in in the Trinamool Congress.
"Neither West Bengal nor the Trinamool Congress is anyone's fiefdom," Adhikari said. Asserting that the party was not built in one day with the contribution of one person, he wrote that it was a continuous and contiguous effort on a mammoth scale, the culmination of which was the TMC's coming to power in West Bengal in 2011.
He alleged that the TMC, which the ordinary people built brick by brick selflessly without any desires, is now filled with individuals who “do not bother about anyone but themselves”.
At the Midnapore rally with Amit Shah, Adhikari called the senior BJP leader his “elder brother” and said he has received “love and respect” from him that was never accorded to him in the TMC. “My association with Amit Shah dates back many years... but he never asked me to join his party. When I was down with Covid-19, no one from the TMC enquired about me, but Amit Shah called me twice. I am assuring all local leaders I am not here to dominate or dictate terms to you, I will work as an ordinary worker of the BJP,” he said.
Two-time TMC MP from Bardhaman Purba Lok Sabha constituency Sunil Mondal also joined the BJP. He has been vocal about his differences with the party's leadership over the last few days. Among the MLAs who switched over to the BJP, five are from the TMC.
TMC MLAs Banasri Maity, Silbhdrada Dutta, Biswajit Kundu, Sukra Munda and Saikat Panja took up the saffron flags at the mammoth rally at the College Grounds. MLA Dipali Biswas, who had won the Gajole seat in 2016 on a CPI(M) ticket but joined the TMC in 2018, was also inducted into the BJP. She has not resigned as a CPM MLA.
Haldia's CPM MLA Tapasi Mandal, Tamluk's CPI MLA Ashok Dinda and Congress MLA from Purulia Sudip Mukherjee also joined the BJP at the rally. Former TMC MP Dasarth Tirkey also joined the BJP. Several district-level leaders of the TMC, Left and Congress, including former minister Shyamaprasad Mukherjee, also changed sides and joined the BJP.