Taking action against the West Bengal government, Soumendu Adhikari on Thursday has filed a petition before the Calcutta High Court challenging his removal from the post of administrator of Contai Municipality in Purba Medinipur district. Adhikari claimed that he has been illegally removed by the West Bengal government's Municipal Affairs Department from the post of administrator of the civic body. Adhikari was the chairman of Contai Municipality till the term of the board expired in 2019. He was then appointed as its administrator since elections were postponed owing to the COVID-19 pandemic situation. As per sources, Soumendu has also hinted that he may join the BJP.
Senior lawyer Bikash Bhattacharya, representing Adhikari, said that the matter is likely to come up for hearing before a bench of the high court next week after it reopens after the winter vacation. Similar to his brother Suvendu, Soumendu Adhikari has also not participated in the recent political programmes of the TMC in Purba Medinipur and a section of the TMC leaders alleges that he was supporting his brother's mass contact programmes in the district in the last two months.
On December 30, days after Suvendu Adhikari joined BJP, Bengal government removed his brother Soumendu Adhikari from the post of Chairperson of Contai Municipality and placed Siddhartha Maity at the position. The decision was taken by Urban Development & Municipal Affairs ministry led by Firhad Hakim, who is a close aide of CM Mamata. So far, there are no reports of talks between BJP and Suvendu's family - his other brother and his father - who are still MPs of Trinamool Congress.
On December 17, Suvendu Adhikari officially quit the Trinamool and joined BJP in presence of ex- BJP chief Amit Shah. In his letter after resignation, Adhikari blamed the sidelining of leaders and said that Mamata has betrayed the party ideals. He said that a "deep rot and malaise" has set in the party, and asserted that "individuals in charge of the party currently are treating it as their personal fiefdom." In an apparent dig at Prashant Kishor, who is the political strategist of TMC for 2021 polls, said that those who have no idea about the sacrifices of the party are being hired to assist the party.
Adhikari - the mastermind of 2007 Nandigram agitation - holds influence in about 35 assembly constituencies in West Midnapore, Bankura, Purulia, Jhargram and Birbhum districts. He had been creating rumours for the past few months by holding rallies not under Trinamool flag or its supremo - Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's posters, and had skipped cabinet meetings. While Suvendu himself is very influential, his father Sisir Adhikari and younger brother Dibyendu Adhikari are TMC MPs from Tamluk and Kanthi Lok Sabha constituencies respectively.
In his first public meeting at Nandigram since joining BJP, Suvendu Adhikari dared the ruling TMC, to which he formerly belonged, to organise a big public meeting in Purbo Medinipur area. He said BJP will hold public meeting at Nandigram on January 8 which will see the gathering of one lakh people and dared Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee to hold a rally as big as it.
West Bengal assembly with 294 seats will go to polls in April-May 2021, Trinamool holds 222 seats. BJP has made major inroads in the state in the Lok Sabha elections winning 18 seats and establishing itself as the major Opposition force in the state. Recently TMC trumped BJP in all 3 bypolls but the BJP is using its booth-level strategy, has placed its top leaders including Amit Shah and JP Nadda in the state for winning the upcoming elections.