Even as the disgruntled TMC leader Suvendu Adhikari readies to join BJP in presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Midnapore on Saturday, Trinamool Congress is set to counter them with an “elder brother" for the upcoming 2021 Bengal elections.
“The face is ready. He is popular among the people as ‘bor da’ (elder brother). His name has been finalised and he is a ‘gana neta’ (people’s leader) and certainly a shocker for the BJP,” said a senior party leader after the TMC’s core committee meeting on Friday.
The senior party leader said the announcement of Adhikari’s opponent would come soon. “In Asansol, also there will be some changes in the leadership structure. All will be declared soon,” he added.
Shah arrived in Kolkata on early Saturday on a two-day visit to take stock of Bharatiya Janata Party’s poll preparedness in the state ahead of the crucial assembly elections. “I bow to this revered land of greats like Gurudev Tagore, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar and Syama Prasad Mookerjee," Shah said in a tweet upon his arrival.
The saffron party’s rally in the state is set to be ‘historic’ one, considering Adhikari’s exit from TMC is assumed to create an adverse impact on the ruling party in the coming polls. But TMC insiders claimed that they have already selected a person who will counter him in all areas the leader had his say in.
“We don’t see it is a historic moment for the BJP. Our leaders have already started realising that it is BJP’s ploy to break the TMC to win the polls. Most of them refused to join them. We have managed to retain at least six TMC leaders in the past and the recent one was of Jitendra Tiwari and Biswajit Kundu,” a senior TMC leader said.
When asked to elaborate on Adhikari’s replacement, he said that a person had already been selected. “It will be a shocker for the BJP camp. Earlier, BJP thought that they will line up our leaders at the dais where Amit Shah will address today’s meeting. But except Suvendu, we don’t think there is any who will contribute anything to the BJP," he added.
Shah will address a public rally at College Math in Midnapore where a number of TMC leaders are expected to join the saffron brigade. Before the rally, he will visit the Siddheshwari Kali Mandir in Habibpur. He will also have lunch with a farmer’s family in Balichuri village along with other BJP leaders.
The Union Home Minister is also set to visit the ancestral house of Swami Vivekananda in Kolkata and Khudiram Bose in Midnapore. On Sunday, he will visit Rabindranath Tagore’s Visva-Bharati University in Bolpur’s Santiniketan for a road show.
In the past few months, Adhikari was seen addressing rallies without TMC symbols and flags. In all these rallies, a sea of people claiming to be – ‘Amra Dadar Anugami’ (we are elder brother’s followers) - were seen marching behind him.
On November 27, Adhikari raised the political temperature by resigning from Mamata’s cabinet. He quit as minister for transport and irrigation, but remains a Trinamool MLA.
Adhikari was the key man behind Mamata Banerjee’s movement in Nandigram in East Midnapore in 2007 which helped her oust the 34-year-old rule of the Left Front rule in Bengal.
On December 2, Adhikari reportedly expressed his dismay through a WhatsApp message to party MP Saugata Roy over details of the meeting - meant to resolve the differences between him and the party - being leaked to the media, in which it was claimed that all “issues" had thus been resolved.
Adhikari in his message mentioned that he was supposed to address the media on December 6, and that he did not like the way details of the meeting were shared to journalists before his scheduled press conference.
Interestingly, even as BJP goes gaga over Adhikari – ground reality is otherwise. TMC has lost nine Lok Sabha seats out of 13 where Adhikari is known as a mass leader. He is believed to have clout among the people in Purulia, Jhargram, Murshidabad, Malda, East Midnapore, West Midnapore, Bankura and in Bishnupur.