One other Adhikari joins BJP

Shubhadeep Choudhury

Tribune News Service

Kolkata, January 1

The New Year, while holding out hope for the Covid-ravaged world, started on a disappointing note for West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) as another member of Kanthi’s influential Adhikari family left the party on Friday and joined BJP.

Soumendu Adhikari, who was recently removed from the post of administrator of the Kanthi Municipality by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, joined the BJP on Friday following the footsteps of his elder brother Suvendu Adhikari.

Soumendu, who was the chairman of the municipality, was appointed administrator by the state government after the expiry of the term of the committee.

Fourteen others, who were councillors of the municipality having a total strength of 21, also joined BJP along with Soumendu in a meeting convened by the senior Adhikari.

Suvendu, who was the Transport Minister in the Mamata cabinet and also a former Lok Sabha member, was welcomed to BJP by Union Home Minister Amit Shah on his visit to the state last month.

Differences with Abhishek Banerjee, Mamata Banerjee’s nephew and political heir, apparently prompted Suvendu to part ways with the TMC.

With Soumendu joining the BJP, the Adhikari family has split into two halves between TMC and BJP. While Suvendu and Soumendu have embraced the saffron party, their father Sisir Adhikari and brother Dibyedu Adhikari, both TMC Lok Sabha members, have continued to cling to their old affiliation with the Mamata Banerjee-led party.

Suvendu, who played a key role in the agitation against forcible acquisition of arable land in West Bengal which propelled Mamata Banerjee to power, was challenged by TMC leaders Saugata Roy and Firhad Hakim to get any of his family members to join BJP.

While Soumendu, who has challenged in the court his unceremonious removal from the post of administrator of the Kanthi Mnicipality, joined the BJP, the saffron party is also hopeful of roping in the family patriarch Sisir Adhikari.

The TMC on Thursday showed faith in Dibyendu Adhikari, Lok Sabha member from Tamlook and elder brother of Suvendu, by appointing him as a member of the Board in the Haldia Development Committee.

The Haldia Development Committee oversees developmental works in the industrial town of Haldia and its adjoining areas in East Midnapore district.

Addressing the crowd at the joining ceremony of his brother Soumendu and the elected councillors, Suvendu attacked the TMC for calling him a traitor.

“People of Midnapore, where giants such as Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was born, are not traitors,” Suvendu said and appealed to the people to avenge the affront.

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