Home Secretary Amit Shah is back in West Bengal this weekend, 40 days after starting the BJP’s campaign for 200 out of 294 seats for election to the legislative assembly. His itinerary has yet to be determined, but the highlight, barring unforeseen circumstances, will be the admission of Trinamool Congress Chairman Suvendu Adhikari to the BJP.
Prime Minister Mamata Banerjee has for the first time publicly recognized and attacked potential party rebels who are now looking for options. The stage for Mr. Adhikari’s introduction will be set for December 19 in the city of Medinipur in the West Midnapore district, about 150 km from Calcutta, Mr. Shah’s first stop.
Originally, his meetings with party workers and farmers were supposed to take place in an indoor stadium. Now the venue is wide open space where Mr. Adhikari will switch sides.
Mr. Adhikari, Nandigram MLA of Trinamool Congress and once the fulcrum of the organization, has done nothing to dispel the possibility.
At an apolitical public meeting in Haldia, East Midnapore district today, Adhikari said, “We must return to Bengal what the Constitution said – for the people, for the people and for the people. Why will it be so?” the party, from the party and from the party here? “
“I don’t believe in personal attacks. Lots of people abuse me. Some people attack me from big posts. But in a few days you will know when people are voting, how it feels, Laxman Seth, Anil Bose, Bolenoy Konar, “Adhikari said, referring to three leaders of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) who have both won by record margins and lost by record margins in the past.
Ms. Banerjee, in a way, affirmed the parting of ways. At a rally in Jalpaiguri, she accused the rebels of benefiting from the Trinamool Congress and the government and is now looking for other options. She has never so furiously recognized rebels in the party.
“We will stand with the people and fight with them. That is our promise. Who is bigger than who in the party shouldn’t be the problem. After having benefited from the party for 10 years, after having benefited from it, part the government to be. ” Hobnob with this and that party … I won’t tolerate people like that, “Ms. Banerjee said.
Mr Adhikari’s exit will hurt the Trinamool Congress, but how much depends on who is speaking. Most agree, however, that Mr. Adhikari may not be the only exit from the Trinamool Congress. Asansol’s strong man and former mayor Jitendra Tiwari is openly unhappy, as is Forest Minister Rajib Banerjee.
Ms. Banerjee met on Sunday with Partha Chatterjee, General Secretary of the Trinamool Congress, and electoral strategist Prashant Kishor. Mr. Tiwari did not come to Calcutta today for a meeting with Minister Firhad Hakim and Mr. Kishor. He said Ms. Banerjee called him on December 18th for talks and that he would speak to her and no one else.
Kailash Vijayvargiya from the BJP called and wished Mr. Adhikari his 50th birthday today.