In a much-anticipated development, rebel Trinamool Congress leader and former minister Suvendu Adhikari has formally resigned from the West Bengal Legislative Assembly.
In a letter addressed to the Speaker, he said: “I hereby tender my resignation as a member of West Bengal Legislative Assembly. Steps may be taken for its immediate acceptance.”
The move comes a month after Adhikari stepped down from his post in Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s cabinet.
The party has been trying hard to retain the 50-year-old as he wields considerable influence over the local party leaders in Malda, Murshidabad, Purulia, Bankura and West Midnapore, where he was the party in-charge.
His resignation will be a massive blow to the Trinamul and will have an impact on more than 50 seats in the Assembly elections slated for next year.
Earlier when he had quit the ministry, the party had rushed senior leader Sougata Roy to reason with him. Roy had even managed to get Adhikari to meet with his bete noire in the party, Trinamul MP and Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee, but nothing worked.
Mamata’s words at a poll rally last week had hinted at a parting where she said: “We will stand with the people and fight with them. That is our promise. Who is bigger than who in the party should not be the issue. After profiting from the party for 10 years, after profiting from being part of the government, to hobnob with this and that party… I will not tolerate such people.”
Adhikari expressed his disapproval over the “insider-outsider” debate in Bengal and said those coming from other parts of India can’t be branded as outsiders. He also made a remark saying he was “first an Indian and then a Bengali”.
He also criticised the party leadership, saying it is giving more importance to the party than the people of Bengal.
While addressing a gathering on the birth anniversary celebrations of freedom fighter Satish Chandra Samanta at Haldia in Purba Medinipur district, he had said: “Bengal is very much a part of India and people coming from other states can’t be treated as outsiders.”
The ruling TMC in Bengal has often criticised the BJP for sending its leaders from other states to campaign in the state.
Adhikari’s resignation came days before home minister Amit Shah’s visit to West Bengal where he will address rallies in at least three districts, including East Midnapore, where Adhikari’s father and two brothers represent two Lok Sabha constituencies and an Assembly seat.