Union home minister Amit Shah arrived in Kolkata on Saturday for a two-day visit to assess the BJP’s affair in the state and to address a public rally in Midnapore. His visit is being seen as a political strategy in a bid to win against the Trinamool Congress in the upcoming Bengal election.
Before the leader’s arrival, the TMC witnessed the resignation of many of its members, including MLAs, MP and lawmakers. Most prominent among them is former transport minister and Nandigram MLA Suvendu Adhikari.
Adhikari, who belongs to East-Midnapore district, has strong influence over party members. The impact of his move was seen in the resignations of many other party members, including MLAs Shilbhadra Dutta and Banasree Maiti.
Asansol and Malda too witnessed the resignation of many Trinamul members. With the developments happening days before Shah’s visit, rumours started that the rebels will be joining the BJP.
However, chief minister Mamata Banerjee refuted such claims, saying: “Some dacoits of Chambal and goons from outside have entered Bengal. At times they threaten police and sometimes they threaten TMC. Today TMC is as deep-rooted as a Banyan tree. Two-three people who know they won’t get a ticket from the party are going away.”
Also, it is worth noting that the Asansol MLA re-joined the Trinamul hours after quitting the party. Jitendra Tiwari returned within 24 hours of mailing his resignation saying quitting the party was a big mistake and that he shall always remain with the Trinamul.
The exits are being blamed on a number of reasons, including the mismanagement of the party as well as the high handedness of its leaders. In fact, many blamed election strategist Prashant Kishore for the resignations.
Recent incidents such as the mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic and cyclone Amphan, death of a BJP worker during a protest march in north Bengal and the attack on BJP national president JP Nadda’s convoy too have added to the Trinamul Congress’s woes.
The resignations have struck a raw nerve, with Speaker Biman Banerjee refusing to accept Adhikari’s resignation saying the resignation letter was not in order and that he was not satisfied that it was “genuine and voluntary”.
Amid Trinamul’s woes, Shah’s visit is being seen as an indication that the central party is putting its poll campaign in top gear before Bengal goes to poll early next year.
It remains to be seen if Shah manages to paint the state saffron.