Fresh wave of rebellion hits TMC ahead of polls; cabinet

PTI | Kolkata | Updated: 22-01-2021 23:52 IST | Created: 22-01-2021 23:52 IST
Fresh wave of rebellion hits TMC ahead of polls; cabinet

The ruling Trinamool Congress inWest Bengal was on Friday hit by a fresh bout of dissidence asForest Minister Rajib Banerjee resigned from the cabinet anddisgruntled legislator Baishali Dalmiya was expelled from theparty, with both appearing set to cross over to the BJP soon.

Joining the growing list of dissenters who have putthe ruling camp in a tight spot ahead of the assemblyelections, Banerjee told reporters that he was forced to quitafter being publicly humiliated by a section of party leadersfor airing his grievances over their style of functioning.

The suave 47-year-old leader, however, declined tocomment when asked if he plans to leave the party in the daysto come.

Coming out in support of Banerjee, disgruntled TMC MLABaishali Dalmiya, who has been lashing out at the leadershipfor quite some time, said, ''Honest and sincere people have noplace in the party.

Within hours, Dalimiya was expelled from the party byits disciplinary committee.

''Indiscipline won't be tolerated and stern actionwould be taken against those leaders who are trying to harassthe party publically,'' the TMC said in a statement.

An elated BJP said that the beginning of the end ofthe TMC has begun and the party would disintegrate soon.

Rajib Banerjee is the third minister to resign fromthe council of ministers in the last two months after SuvenduAdhikari and Laxmi Ratan Shukla. While Adhikari switched overto the BJP, Shukla expressed his desire to quit politics.

In his letter to the chief minister, Banerjee did notcite any reason for quitting the cabinet.

''It has been a great honour and privilege to serve thepeople of West Bengal. I heartily convey my gratitude forgetting this opportunity,'' he said in the letter.

West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar accepted theadvice of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to remove him fromthe council of ministers, the state government said.

Banerjee had skipped the last five cabinet meetingsamid murmurs that he was trying to distance himself from thepartys leadership.

''I had grievances against some of the party's seniormembers and informed the leadership about it. I also had aword with the party supremo (Mamata Banerjee), but nothinghappened. Instead, I was personally attacked by a section ofleaders.

''I was hurt by the personal attacks. Hence, I resignedfrom the state cabinet,'' he told reporters.

Banerjee said that he wanted to quit the cabinetaround two-and-a-half years ago when he was removed asirrigation minister without being informed in advance, butlater backtracked after the chief minister pacified him.

Sharing his resignation letter on Facebook, he saidthat he hopes to continue to work for the people of the statein the days to come.

For the past one month, the TMC leadership heldseveral rounds of dialogue with Banerjee to redress hisgrievances. TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee and theparty's poll strategist Prashant Kishor had tried to pacifyhim.

The Domjur MLA features in TMC legislators' list whohave expressed discontentment over affairs in the MamataBanerjee camp.

Barring Shukla, who quit his cabinet post citingapolitical reasons, most of them, including Suvendu Adhikari,have switched over to the BJP.

Meanwhile, after being expelled from the TMC foranti-party activities, Baishali Dalmiya said that she feelsrelieved.

''The decision to expel me shows that rotten elementsare calling the shots in the party. I am answerable to thepeople of my constituency. If I can't work for them, if Ican't speak for them, there is no use being part of such aparty,'' Dalmiya told reporters.

When asked whether she would join the BJP in the daysto come, the daughter of late cricket administrator JagmohanDalmiya said, ''Let's see, only time will say (about it).'' Reacting to the development, senior leader ParthaChatterjee said, ''I dont know why they come and why theyleave. They enjoy power during their tenure and leave only atthe time of elections.'' Banerjee, Dalmiya and Shukla are MLAs of Howrahdistrict.

''When the TMC was formed in 1998, Laxmi Ratan Shukla,Baishali Dalmiya and Rajib Banerjee were not in the party. Ialways knew such a situation was in the offing. More thepeople like them leave the party, the better, TMC Howrahdistrict chief Arup Roy said.

Senior TMC leader Subrata Mukherjee trashed the claimsof Banerjee that he had faced harassment from people insidethe party.

TMC MP Kalyan Bandyopadhyay dared Banerjee to contestfrom Domjur in the coming assembly election.

State BJP president Dilip Ghosh said, ''It is only amatter of time before the TMC disintegrates. If Rajib Banerjeeand Baishali Dalmiya want to join us, we will look into it.'' BJP national general secretary and the party's Bengalminder Kailash Vijayvargiya lauded Banerjee as a good leaderand a successful minister.

Elections to the 294 assembly seats are likely to beheld in April-May this year.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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