Will the exodus of rebel TMC leaders prevent Mamata Banerjee from scoring a hattrick in Assembly?

In the last 24 hours, four important figures have tendered their resignation to Mamata Banerjee and they are likely to join BJP
Will the exodus of rebel TMC leaders prevent Mamata Banerjee from scoring a hattrick in Assembly?

The road to West Bengal’s assembly elections 2021 is getting intense. The twist and turns in the political developments coming from the eastern state have been grabbing headlines across the country. While the elections are a bit far away, the current developments are hurting one political party and favouring another.

In the last few days, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) has been going through a difficult phase. A likely exodus of party leaders is going to hurt Mamata Banerjee’s party just before a big election. Party leaders have been tendering their resignation one after the other, leading to a domino effect.

The party, which has been in power for a decade in West Bengal, is suddenly without its big guns. The biggest fish to leave the TMC’s pond has been MLA Suvendhu Adhikari. Known to be Mamata’s former top aide in TMC, Suvendhu tendered his resignation on Thursday as party MLA. Reportedly, he is close to joining the Bhartiya Janata Party. The Centre granted him a ‘Z’ category security soon after tendering his resignation. However, on Friday, West Bengal Assembly Speaker Biman Banerjee rejected Suvendhu’s resignation letter.

Banerjee says that on examining Suvendhu’s letter, he found that the date isn’t specified. “I wasn’t informed that Suvendhu’s resignation is voluntary and genuine. Therefore, it is not possible to accept his resignation,” the speaker said, adding that he asked Suvendhu to meet him on December 21.

Suvendhu’s resignation was the genesis of TMC’s domino effect. Following him, four rebel leaders in TMC also tendered their resignation. MLA Jitendra Tiwari sent his resignation letter to Mamata. Soon, reports came in that Tiwari’s close aide Colonel Diptangshu Chaudhury also sent his resignation letter to the TMC supremo as well as the West Bengal Governor. Coincidently, Col Chaudhury left BJP for TMC in 2017. On Friday, TMC MLA Silbhadra Datta also put in his papers. This is a huge blow for TMC as they have lost four leaders in just 24 hours. This is the last thing West Bengal’s leading party wants.

From an outsider’s point of view, there seems to be something fishy with regard to these moves. What has led four rebel leaders to tender their resignation in less than 24 hours? Reportedly, more TMC MLAs and leaders are likely to join BJP. The timing couldn’t get any better. Home Minister Amit Shah will be in West Bengal on December 19 and 20. Reportedly, Shah will be meeting locals, holding a public rally and roadshow in these two days. By the end of the weekend, we will know how many TMC MLAs and leaders will be joining BJP.

Over the past few months, the battle between BJP and TMC has intensified by leaps and bounds. Mamata has repeatedly launched scathing attacks and at times resorted to name-calling. The BJP has hit back severely as well and at times crossed limits. News of political killings between the two parties is known to many. Over the past few months, many national BJP leaders have made their presence felt in the state. The battle between the two parties was taken to a new level when BJP President JP Nadda’s convoy was attacked on December 11. While BJP blamed TMC workers for the attack, TMC dismissed allegations, saying that BJP “staged the attack to divert attention”.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has granted interim protection to six BJP leaders facing criminal cases in West Bengal. The five leaders include Mukul Roy, MPs Kailash Vijayvargiya and Arjun Singh. The Court told West Bengal government that no coercive action must be taken against the leaders until the next date of hearing, which is likely to be held in January 2021. Reportedly, the BJP leaders have asked for an independent agency to investigate the cases registered against them in West Bengal.

The next few days, weeks, and months are crucial for both BJP and TMC. The latter will be eyeing a third consecutive term in West Bengal, whereas the BJP will be eyeing a state that they never won before. If BJP has a chance, it is now.

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