TMC MLA Rajib Banerjee talks to the media after resigning as West Bengal Forest Minister, outside the Raj Bhawan in Kolkata, Friday, Jan. 22, 2021
TMC MLA Rajib Banerjee talks to the media after resigning as West Bengal Forest Minister, outside the Raj Bhawan in Kolkata, Friday, Jan. 22, 2021
PTI

Kolkata: The exodus from the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) remains unabated as West Bengal Forest Minister Rajib Banerjee resigned on Friday from Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s cabinet. The forest ministry will now be looked after by Mamata herself.

Talking to the media after tendering his resignation to Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, Rajib said that he was being mentally harassed by few senior TMC leaders, due to which he had resigned. He added that the Governor had accepted his resignation.

“I am extremely grateful to TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee for keeping me in her cabinet. I was about to resign two and a half years back when I had learnt from the media that my department has been changed. I was also being troubled, mentally, by a few senior leaders of the party so I had to resign. A few of them didn’t allow me to work and just exploited me,” said Rajib after tendering his resignation at the Chief Minister's house and the Governor's.

Rajib’s resignation came in the wake of rumours that he might soon defect to the BJP. Although some media reports indicated that he might likely join the BJP on January 30, around the time of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the state, the former minister has not confirmed anything of the sort.

Asked whether he will join the BJP, Rajib did not reply in affirmative.

“I will be in politics but I don’t know about my next move. I can say, however, that I will continue working for the benefit of the people. I will also celebrate Netaji Subash Chandra Bose’s birthday from my Domjur assembly constituency,” mentioned Rajib.

According to sources at the West Bengal secretariat, Rajib Banerjee’s resignation has not been accepted as he didn’t follow the protocols of tendering resignation.

“Rajib will be suspended. The Chief Minister sent his resignation letters to the Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar but Rajib himself visited the governor before meeting the Chief Minister. The chief minister had suspended him from the post and now the forest ministry will be taken care of by Mamata Banerjee herself,” mentioned sources at Nabanna.

Meanwhile, Baishali Dalmiya, TMC MLA of Howrah North who has been vocal against the ruling party and also supported Rajib Banerjee’s move stating that ‘the old members of TMC are always heckled’, has also been expelled from the TMC for allegedly making ‘anti-party comments’.

Rubbishing the fact that Rajib was mentally troubled, West Bengal Panchayat Minister Subrata Mukherjee said that he was not heckled by anyone from the party.

Senior CPI (M) leader and politburo member Sujan Chakraborty claimed that before the election the ruling Trinamool Congress will fall like a ‘pack of cards’.

Welcoming the move, newly defected BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari said that the TMC will be completely ruined.

“Those who have self-respect and like to work won’t continue with the TMC. Even before the dates of the election are announced, the TMC will be completely wiped out,” said Suvendu with a smile.

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