With all eyes fixed on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's mammoth public rally in Midnapore, the once-troubled western district was cloaked in banners and posters featuring the son of its soil Suvendu Adhikari on Monday.
According to sources, the CM's public meeting would be attended by many senior leaders from the region, popularly known as Junglemahal.
People's Committer Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA) leader and a former Maoist sympathiser Chattradhar Mahato is slated to attend the public gathering along with other Trinamool Congress leaders and legislators from the district Churanani Mahato and Dulal Murmu.
This would be Chattradhar Mahato's first public meeting in the district after he was released from jail. Mahato was jailed in 2009 for suspected Maoist links and has secured a release after a decade. He was given a key Trinamool portfolio in the district in July.
Interestingly, no member from the Adhikari family will be there in the meeting with Banerjee.
According to sources, veteran Trinamool Congress MP Sisir Adhikari is likely to give the meeting a miss on the health ground. He had informed about his health condition to West Midnapore Trinamool Congress president Ajit Maity over phone on Sunday night, sources said.
His son Dibyendu Adhikari, who is also a Lok Sabha MP of the Trinamool Congress, is in Delhi now. Rebel heavyweight and ex-minister Suvendu Adhikari will also not be there on the podium with the party supremo.
Meanwhile, posters and banners of the disgruntled Nandigram legislator were put up across Midnapore town amid the high-voltage Trinamool rally. Sources said that the ex-state transport minister was not involved in the meeting too.
State Irrigation and Transport Minister Suvendu Adhikari had tendered his resignation as minister from the Mamata Banerjee-led state cabinet last month. He had also left the chairperson's post of the Hooghly River Bridge Commissioner's (HRBC).
According to sources, Adhikari was unhappy with organizational decisions taken by Chief Minister's nephew and MP Abhishek Banerjee and political strategist Prashant Kishor. Adhikari and Banerjee were even seen taking potshots indirectly at each other without taking names at recent public meetings.
Speculations were rife over whether Suvendu would join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ahead of the crucial state Assembly polls scheduled in 2021.
The state BJP leaders had said that they would welcome Adhikari if he wants to join the saffron brigade in Bengal.