Former lawmaker Suvendu Adhikari, a former cabinet minister and heavyweight Trinamool Congress (TMC), is set to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) during Interior Minister Amit Shah’s visit to the state of elections later this week.
Adhikari’s BJP aides and leaders told HT that decks are being emptied for his formal incorporation. There have been strong rumors that he will move to the saffron camp since he challenged TMC’s board last month and peace talks have failed to bridge the gaps.
Shah will be in Bengal on December 19th and 20th. He will address rallies in at least three districts, including East Midnaporo, where Adhikari, his father and two brothers represent two districts of Lok Sabha and an assembly. They also manage the citizen body at Contai, their hometown. Adhikari is elected from the Nandigram seat.
“So far it has been decided that neither Shah nor party president JP Nadda will hand over the party flag to Adhikari publicly to include him in the BJP. This formality will be fulfilled by either Bengali BJP president Dilip Ghosh or some senior national leader,” he told HT senior state BJP leader on Tuesday afternoon. Ghosh did not comment on the record about it.
The 50-year-old rebel leader of TMC, who resigned from the cabinet last month and resigned from two administrative posts, plans to visit Delhi on Thursday to speak with BJP’s country leadership.
Senior TMC leaders said privately that Adhikari is specifically unhappy with Mamata Banerjee’s nephew, Abhishek Banerjee, and with election strategist Prashant Kishor, who was roped in by the prime minister after the BJP won 18 of the state’s 42 Lok Sabha seats in 2019.
Adhikari made significant remarks at a non-political program on Tuesday morning. “Those who insulted me will have the same fate as Anil Basu, Benoy Konar and Laxman Seth when people vote after a few months,” Adhikari said. The three leaders of CPI (M), whom he mentioned, also faced electoral defeat and disciplinary action.
“It must be remembered that the country agitation at Nandigram was a popular movement and not that of an individual or any party,” Adhikari said in the program held to pay tribute to well-known freedom fighter Satish Samanta.
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His statement was significant because it was Adhikari who directed the agitation against land acquisition which started after 14 villagers were killed in police shooting at Nandigram on 14 March 2007. The land movement, which was carried out under the banner of Bhumi Uchhed Pratirodh Committee (BUPC ), a platform against land grabbing that even the Maoists secretly supported, helped Banerjee overthrow the Left Front government.
“Adhikari will announce himself when he joins the BJP. TMC and Prashant Kishor will soon witness many more joining the saffron camp because of the policies pursued by the ruling party, “said Kanishka Panda, an Adhikari aide who was expelled from TMC two days ago. He was TMC general secretary in East Midnapore.
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The members of Suvendu Adhikari are selected from several assembly segments not only in East Midnapore but also other districts. He was TMC’s election observer in several districts including Murshidabad, where Muslims predominate.