In a big blow to the Trinamool Congress, West Bengal Transport Minister Suvendu Adhikari has resigned from his post. The move comes amid murmurs that the politician is contemplating a switch to the Opposition BJP - something that assumes far greater significance as the state polls are due in April-May 2021.
His resignation letter was sent to both Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar. "Today at 1:05 pm a resignation letter of Mr. Suvendu Adhikari from office as minister addressed to Hon’ble Chief Minister has been forwarded to me. The issue will be addressed from constitutional perspective," the Governor tweeted.
The brief letter does not provide any particular reason for his resignation.
While State BJP president Dilip Ghosh had said a little more than a week ago that the party is not in touch with him, BJP National Secretary Anupam Hazra raised several eyebrows as he took to Twitter on Friday hailing Adhikari's resignation as a "welcome step".
Recent reports had indicated that the ruling Trinamool Congress had opened back channel talks with the rebellious minister and was attempting to address his grievances. However, this does not seem to have made enough of an impression. Today's resignation is not the first post that Adhikari has quit. A day earlier, on Thursday the politician had resigned as the chairman of the Hooghly River Bridge Commissioners. Party MP Kalyan Banerjee had then been named to the post with immediate effect.
Adhikari has been maintaining distance from TMC's top leaders and has been staying away from party and cabinet meetings for the past few months. He has also been holding rallies where the TMC's banners or posters of party chief Mamata Banerjee are conspicuously absent. According to some reports, the Congress too would be happy to have Adhikari join their ranks.