Suvendu Adhikari steps down as West Bengal Transport Minister

Kolkata: In a setback for the Trinamool Congress (TMC), West Bengal tra­n­s­port minister Suvendu Adhikari resigned from his post on Friday, raising ongoing specula­tions of him joining BJP. Adhikari tendered his resigna­tion to CM and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee and Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar.

Adhikari also resigned as Chairman of Haldia Development Authority. Earlier on Thursday, Adhikari was replaced by TMC MP Kalyan Banerjeeas as chairman of Hooghly River Bridge Commi­ssi­oners. Speculations are rife the estranged leader will join BJP or float his own party, which will join hands with BJP ahead of the 2021 Assembly poll. Sources said Adhikari is disgruntled with Mam­a­ta’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee gaining prominence and wrestling control of the party in districts. Adhikari has not been mentioning the TMC supremo’s name in his recent speeches. Adhikari’s loss will mean taking supporters along with him away from the TMC.

However, TMC MP Sougata Roy dispelled the rumours. “Adhikari has not resigned as MLA or from the party. Till then, there is hope to talk and ensure he stays. I think he has no plans to leave the party and is open to talks. I will keep trying," said Sougata Roy.

Meanwhile, the BJP is ready to welcome Adhikari. BJP state President Dilip Ghosh said, "I have not spoken to Mr Adhikari. He is welcome to join the BJP. He is a fighter. He will get full respect in the party. This is the beginning of the end of the Trinamool. The party will disapp­ear. TMC is not a party, it is a mela, a circus. There is an owner, a director-producer and the rest work as employees.”

Ghosh alleged Ma­mata gets sc­a­red when BJP leaders come from Delhi. He said she was conspiring to turn West Bengal into West Bangladesh.

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