In a boost for the BJP in West Bengal, former Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Suvendu Adhikari, along with six other TMC MLAs, two Left MLAs and one Congress MLA and one TMC Lok Sabha MP joined the BJP in the presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah at a public rally in West Midnapore district on Saturday.
With Suvendu Adhikari, officially jumping ship, equations on the ground may change in at least four districts and 110 seats where the leader holds considerable sway. Bengal has 294 Assembly seats. The “hero” of Trinamool’s Nandigram anti-land acquisition movement — that shot Mamata Banerjee to national limelight — has had an acrimonious fall out with the party. His switchover was anticipated in the political circles. Adhikari was increasingly unhappy at being sidelined in the Trinamool. The parallel rise of Abhishek Banerjee, the Chief Minister’s nephew, made matters worse.
A host of sitting Trinamool MLAs known to be close to Adhikari followed suit and changed camps. Another shot in the arm for the saffron party was the switch over by Trinamool Congress leader and Parliamentarian Sunil Mondal. Hailing from the Burdwan Purba region, Mondal too was against the rise of specific groups within the Trinamool. His defection, is said to have been engineered by Adhikari. The two had met recently.
Over two dozen grassroot and Muslim leaders also jumped ship.
‘Didi will be isolated’
Addressing a public rally at Midnapore Town, 130 km from Kolkata, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said the day is not far when the exodus of leaders will leave ‘Didi’ (as Mamata Banerjee is called in Bengal) isolated.
Her attempts to make nephew, Abhishek, the heir apparent and push him as the Chief Ministerial face will lead to the party’s downfall, he claimed.