Trinamool Congress MLA Silbhadra Dutta has resigned from the party, news agency ANI reported. Dutta's resignation is the third major exit from the party in the last 24 hours.
Dutta, a lawmaker from Barrackpore, resigned a day after Mamata Banerjee's trusted aide Suvendu Adhikari resigned from the party's primary membership. Earlier on Wednesday, Adhikari had submitted his resignation as an MLA. Adhikari, the MLA of Nandigram constituency in Purba Medinipur district, resigned from the state cabinet last month.
Pandabeswar MLA and Asansol civic body chief Jitendra Tiwari also quit the party last evening. Former minister Shyamaprasad Mukherjee too has announced that he would leave the party and join the BJP.
According to reports, Dutta has been maintaining distance with the party leadership for quite some time. Dutta, a two-term MLA, said he has sent the resignation letter to Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee by email, triggering speculations that he may join a long list of party leaders who have either joined the BJP or is willing to ahead of the assembly elections, likely in March-April.
"I think that I am unfit in the party in the present scenario. But, I will not resign as an MLA," he told reporters.
"Why should I resign as an MLA? I have won by people's votes. If I go (resign) away, where will they go?" he added. Over the last few months, Dutta has been vocal about his opposition to election strategist Prashant Kishor and the way he was handling party affairs.
Earlier on Thursday, Dutta declined having political discussions with Prashant. TMC chief Mamata Banerjee has hired Prashant to strategise the TMC's campaign for the 2021 Assembly elections.
Meanwhile, there are speculations that Adhikari and others may switch over to the BJP when Amit Shah visits Bengal on Saturday and Sunday. The state will go to polls in April-May next year.