Trinamool Congress heavyweight Suvendu Adhikari on Thursday resigned from primary membership of the party, party sources told PTI. His reisgnation from the party comes just ahead of Union minister and BJP leader Amit Shah's visit to poll-bound West Bengal. It is speculated that Adhikari will join the BJP during Shah two-day trip later this week.
Adhikari had on Wednesday resigned as an MLA from the Legislative Assembly. He had resigned from the state cabinet last month. The leader submitted his resignation to the assembly secretary. Adhikari was an MC MLA from Nandigram assembly constituency.
Adhikari had helped Mamata Banerjee in her anti-land acquisition movemnent against the Left Front government in Nandigram in 2009 that catapulted her to power in 2011. After the efforts of rapprochement failed, Adhikari, without naming anyone, has criticised the TMC leadership on a range of issues.
Meanwhile, BJP national vice-president Mukul Roy hailed Adhikari's decision and said the saffron party would welcome him with open arms. "The day Suvendu Adhikari had resigned from the state cabinet, I had said I would be happy if he leaves the TMC and join the BJP. He has resigned as MLA, and I welcome his decision," Roy said.
BJP state president Dilip Ghosh also lauded Adhikari's decision and said the BJP would be happy to welcome him.
Adhikari is considered an influential leader with a mass base. Himself a two-term former MP, Adhikari's father, Sisir Adhikari and brother Dibyendu are sitting TMC MPs from Tamluk and Kanthi Lok Sabha constituencies, respectively.
The influential political family gave Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's rally in their stronghold West Medinipur district last week a miss, prompting her to accuse the BJP of trying to break her party by using "moneybag".
The Adhikari family wields considerable influence in at least 40-45 assembly segments in West Medinipur, Bankura, Purulia, Jhargram, parts of Birbhum -- mainly in the Junglemahal region and areas in minority-dominated Murshidabad district. His desertion may adversely impact the TMC's prospects in these areas in the next assembly polls for 294 seats.