TMC to not initiate any further talks with Adhikari

TMC to not initiate any further talks with Adhikari, Mamata to start district tours from Dec 7

The resignation of the influential Jangalmahal leader was promptly accepted by Banerjee

The resignation of the influential Jangalmahal leader was promptly accepted by Banerjee. Credit: Facebook (official.suvenduadhikari)

The ruling TMC jolted by the resignation of its Nandigram face and heavyweight leader Suvendu Adhikari from the state cabinet on Friday, has decided not to initiate further talks with him, party sources said.

The party has decided that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will start touring the districts from December 7 with an eye on the state poll in April-May of 2021, they said.

The resignation of the influential Jangalmahal leader was promptly accepted by Banerjee, who is also the TMC supremo, and the party top brass held an emergency meeting at her residence just hours later, a senior TMC leader said.

The meeting discussed the party's line of action, he said.

Adhikari was the minister for transport, waterways and irrigation and back channel talks were on between him and TMC for resolving differences.

"It has been decided that we should not discuss only the issue of Suvendu Adhikari's resignation from the cabinet and move ahead. He has not resigned from the party so no action will be taken against him. But the party will not initiate any further talks with him," the leader said on condition of anonymity.

He said the party will "wait and watch" the situation and then take a call on Adhikari.

According to party sources, Banerjee had assured the party leaders not to worry about the development

"The party supremo asked us not to worry about the development but focus on mass outreach campaigns. She will begin her districts tour from December 7 and will address public meetings in Malda, Murshidabad, Bankura, Purulia and East Midnapore districts where Adhikari was an observer for the party," another party leader said.

The party has been asked to hit the streets from next week and reach out to the masses with the developmental work done by the TMC government for the last 10 years.

Sources close to Adhikari, who has been at odds with the party and did not attend state cabinet meetings over the last few months, said that he was unhappy with organizational rejig effected a few months ago, especially the scrapping of the posts of district observer.

His close aides were also removed from various party posts in several districts in the last few months.

TMC MPs Sougata Roy and Sudip Bandopadhyay were deputed to talk to Adhikari and address the grievances even as he continued to tour the state and lead rallies organized by his supporters. But two rounds of talks remained inconclusive.

Adhikari's rallies were held without TMC's banner, which is unusual for the party. His supporters were seen flaunting posters of "Dadar Anugami (Followers of the Elder brother)".

Apart from his home district of East Midnapore, Adhikari has influence over at least 40-45 assembly segments in West Midnapore, Bankura, Purulia and Jhargram, and parts of Birbhum which form the Jangalmahal region and parts of minority-dominated Murshidabad district. This assumes significance as the state polls are due in April-May 2021 when Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will seek to return to power for the third consecutive term.

Election to the 294-member West Bengal assembly are due in April-May next year.