Amid the rumours over Trinamool loyalist Suvendu Adhikari drifting away from the party, the Bengal transport minister on Thursday, assured that he was still a part of the party and the cabinet. Adhikari, addressing an apolitical rally in East Midnapore, said that he had no plans of quitting the party, unless he is expelled. Adhikari - who holds influence in about 35 assembly constituencies in West Midnapore, Bankura, Purulia, Jhargram and Birbhum districts has 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 has skipped cabinet meetings.
“I am still an active primary member of the party. I am still a minister and part of the cabinet. Neither has the chief minister sacked me, nor have I quit on my own. I am here as long as the higher authorities don’t expel me or I leave,” he said at the 67th National Cooperative Week function in East Midnapore. While Suvendu himself is very infulential, his father Sisir Adhikari and younger brother Dibyendu Adhikari are TMC MPs from Tamluk and Kanthi Lok Sabha constituencies respectively.
Last Tuesday, while addressing a rally to mark the 'Nandigram Diwas', Adhikari lashed out saying, "After 13 years, a few people are now coming here as the elections are approaching. I want to tell them if they are coming before polls, they will have to come after elections too". The rally held to pay respect to martyrs of Bhumi Uchhed Pratirodh Committee (BUPC), did not have posters of Banerjee or TMC flags. With six TMC MLAs on-stage with Adhikari, he added, "Whatever I will have to say regarding my next course of action, I will say from a political platform. I will say everything but not from this pious stage."
Retorting to Adhikari's veiled threats, TMC MLAs - Firhad Hakim and party MP Dola Sen blamed Adhikari for 'strengthening BJP', without mentioning him. Meanwhile, Prashant Kishor, who has been roped by Mamata Banerjee for her re-elction bid, visited Adhikari's East Midnapore residence and spoke to his father, TMC MP Sisir Adhikari. He wanted to meet Suvendu Adhikari but could not meet him as he was not at the house then. Trinamool has also delegated two senior MPs to be in regular touch with Adhikari and pacify his demands.
Awaiting Adhikari's future political course, Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh said the party is not in touch with him. "It is an internal matter of the TMC. But no one can be indeed happy in a party like TMC. We hope that Adhikari would clear his stand soon," Ghosh said.
On the other hand, West Bengal Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said Congress will welcome Adhikari with "open arms". "We will be pleased if a leader of the stature of Suvendu Adhikari joins Congress. He would never get his due in a party like the TMC," he said. West Bengal goes to polls in April-May 2021, where Mamata Banerjee eyes a third consecutive term.