TMC heavyweight Suvendu Adhikari resigns as West Bengal Transport Minister
Trinamool Congress (TMC) heavyweight Suvendu Adhikari on Friday resigned as the Minister of Transport and Irrigation in West Bengal. The development comes just a day after he had resigned as the Chairperson of the Hooghly River Bridge Commission. Adhikari is also expected to resign from the TMC, delivering a severe jolt to the Mamata Banerjee administration ahead of next year's state polls.
Adhikari had submitted his resignation letter to Chief Minister Banerjee and emailed a copy to Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar at 1:05 pm on Friday, according to Hindustan Times. In the letter, Adhikari wrote to Banerjee, "I do hereby tender my resignation from my office as Minister. Steps may be taken for its immediate acceptance," the report said.
Adhikari's disenchantment with the Banerjee administration is no secret. Over the past couple of months, he has skipped all party and Cabinet meetings. At several of his rallies, there were no TMC flags or Banerjee's portraits. He is known to be displeased with Banerjee's nephew and Lok Sabha MP Abhishek Banerjee and the party's ties with poll strategist Prashant Kishor.
Adhikari remains a TMC legislator from East Midnapore's Nandigram as he has not resigned from the party, however, the same is expected. Adhikari's resignation from the senior post is a precursor to his exit from the party. TMC spokesperson Saugata Roy spokesperson said earlier Friday that there is hope that Adhikari would remain with the party. The TMC is open to talks, Roy said.
Bengal Congress chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said the TMC administration would now "crumble like a house of cards." BJP's state chief Dilip Ghosh said, "He is welcome to join the BJP. He's a fighter. He will be given full respect in the party." Describing the party as a "circus," Ghosh said the Adhikari's resignation is the "beginning of the end" of TMC.
Adhikari, 49, had spearheaded the anti-land acquisition agitation at Nandigram in 2007. The movement catapulted Banerjee to the forefront of Bengal politics, and in 2011, she came to power. Adhikari is known to be an effective administrator. He was elected to the Parliament in 2009 and 2014. In 2016, he won the Nandigram Assembly seat and was made Transport Minister.