Bengal’s ruling Triamool Congress’s patch-up with its rebelling senior leader Suvendu Adhikari — who recently stepped down from the state minister’s post — has developed a hitch again. Sources said this morning, the 49-year-old texted party leader Sougata Roy, who led yesterday’s negotiations, expressing his dismay that the details of the meeting were leaked.
Mr Adhikary was expected to address a press conference on Sunday.
An upset Mr Adhikary can develop into a headache for the ruling party, especially in view of next year’s assembly election, where it is facing a stiff challenge from the BJP.
The MLA from Midnapore, whose father and brothers are also in the party, is said to exert influence over 30 to 50 of the state’s 294 assembly seats.
Even if he doesn’t change camp, his exit from the party can lead to low morale among local leaders of Malda, Murshidabad, Purulia and Bankura, where Mr Adhikari was the party in-charge.
Many of these leaders are already upset over the fighting words of Abhishek Banerjee — party MP from Diamond Harbour and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew.
It was the induction of Mr Banerjee into the party that had started the rift between the Chief Minister and her close aides, several of whom have now defected to the BJP and have been responsible for its spectacular show in last year’s Lok Sabha elections. The BJP, which held only two seats in Bengal, won 18 of the state’s 40 Lok Sabha seats.
Recently, Mr Banerjee — without naming Mr Adhikari who accused him of taking a short cut to the party’s top rungs — had hit out at him.
“If I had used a parachute or a ladder, I would not have to fight from tough constituency like Diamond Harbour to become MP. I would have stood from south Kolkata, which is my home constituency,” Mr Banerjee had said. “My family and I would also have been holding many posts,” he had added in a clear attack on Mr Adhikari.