Fissures are deepening in the Trinamool Congress (TMC) but West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee seems to be struggling to bring the situation under control. The crisis which started with some senior MLAs voicing their discontent against the party has reached its peak with Mamata’s trusted lieutenant Transport Minister Suvendu Adhikari resigning from his post and is seemingly on the verge of leaving the TMC. BJP has already made it clear that they will welcome an ace organiser like Adhikari.
These TMC leaders such as Adhikari do not have any issues with Mamata as the party supremo nor have they challenged her leadership. The case in point being Adhikari and senior TMC MLA from Cooch Behar district Mihir Goswami who joined BJP on Friday. While he was distancing himself from the TMC in the last couple of months not even once did Adhikari utter a word against Mamata.
But sources close to Adhikari said that he was not happy that the Chief Minister’s nephew and TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee and poll strategist Prashant Kishor were taking key decisions. With the rise of Abhishek and Kishor calling the shots in many organisational matters, TMC’s old guard such as Adhikari felt threatened that they might get sidelined.
Adhikari, who played a key role in the Nandigram land agitation in 2007, which catapulted Mamata to power in the 2011 Assembly elections, is arguably the only TMC leader after Mamata, with a substantial mass base. Having organisational clout in at least 50 Assembly constituencies, Adhikari can deliver a severe blow to the TMC in the 2021 Assembly elections if he finally joins the BJP. His actions may also prompt fence-sitters in TMC to think of other political options resulting in an exodus of old-timers from the party.
TMC MLA Mihir Goswami who joined BJP alleged that he was repeatedly insulted and ignored by the district leadership and his complaints to Mamata did not make much of a difference. This once again shows the communication gap between the TMC supremo and the district leadership.