A day ahead of Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s scheduled rally in West Bengal’s Midnapore on Saturday saw frenetic activity among the rank and file of the Trinamool Congress (TMC), with many resigning and giving ample hints that they would join the BJP.
Mr. Shah meanwhile arrived in Kolkata late on Friday evening. Speculation is rife that several TMC leaders, including party heavyweight Suvendu Adhikari, will join the BJP at his rally in Midnapore.
The latest addition to the list of dissident TMC leaders was Barrackpore MLA Silbhadra Datta, who sent in his resignation from the party to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Mr. Datta has been vocal against the party for quite some time and had announced his decision not to contest Assembly polls on a TMC ticket. Speaking to journalists, Mr. Datta said he had resigned from the party but will remain an MLA.
Thursday saw a steady stream of resignations. While Nandigram MLA Suvendu Adhikari and Pandaveshwar MLA Jeetendra Tewari resigned in the morning, later in the evening Shyamapada Mukherjee, another former Minister joined the list. Along with these leaders, TMC MP from Bardhaman Purba Sunil Kumar Mondal and leader Diptangshu Chowdhury have also struck a discordant note and are likely to join the BJP.
On Friday, the list of disgruntled leaders crossed a dozen, including a number of district and block leaders who resigned, expressing their support to Mr. Adhikari. Posters of Mr. Adhikari have come up in several places in Kolkata and other parts of the State. The former Minister meanwhile was provided security by the Union Home Ministry.
The TMC leadership has maintained that several party leaders are tilting towards BJP out of fear.
While several TMC leaders have indicated their willingness to join the BJP, Asansol MP and Union Minister Babul Supriyo came out publicly against the possibility of inclusion of Jeetendra Tewari, saying that he was behind the attack on many BJP workers in Asansol.
State BJP president Dilip Ghosh appeared to echo Mr Supriyo, adding that Mr. Tewari had come in the way of development of Asansol. Similarly protests erupted in Bankura BJP leadership over the possibility of inclusion of Shyamapada Mukherjee in the party.
Dissidence was not limited to the TMC with Communist party of India (Marxist) MLA Tapashi Mondal from Haldia also expressed displeasure with her party. A video of Ms. Mondal having a meeting with Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh also surfaced on social media. The CPI(M) leadership described the action of the MLA as a “treachery”.