Ahead of the Assembly elections scheduled in April-May of next year, the trouble for the ruling TMC is intensifying in West Bengal indicating all is not well in the party led by firebrand leader Mamata Banerjee.
While Tamluk MLA Suvendu Adhikari and Pandaveswar MLA Jitendra Tiwari announced their resignation on Thursday, two other prominent leaders, including an MLA, quit the party on Friday. It includes Shilbhadra Dutta, the MLA from Barrackpure in the outskirts of Kolkata, and minority cell leader Kabirul Islam.
Shilbhadra Dutta versus Prashant Kishor
Shilbhadra Dutta, the lawmaker from Barrackpore, had earlier this month openly resented what many rebels like him saw as “interference” by poll strategist Prashant Kishor in the choice of candidates for the state election.
“I think that I am unfit for the party in the present scenario. But, I will not resign as an MLA. Why should I resign as an MLA? I have won by people’s votes. If I go, where will they go?” Dutta told reporters after emailing his resignation to the chief minister.
Amit Malviya takes a dig at Mamata Banerjee
The back-to-back exits from Trinamool come just ahead of Union home minister Amit Shah’s visit to Bengal. “The rate at which TMC MLAs are resigning, Pishi (aunt) must perhaps consider setting up a resignation collection center in her office…,” sneered BJP’s social media chief Amit Malviya in a tweet referring to Mamata Banerjee as “aunt”. Many of the rebels are expected to cross over to the BJP with much fanfare, in the presence of Amit Shah.
Division of Muslim votes
TMC, which enjoyed almost an undivided support of Muslim voters so far, is also concerned with the entry of AIMIM in the state. After the better-than-expected performance of AIMIM in the recently concluded Bihar elections, the party has decided to try its luck in the Bengal Assembly election.
Reacting to Mamata Banerjee’s criticism that AIMIM is “team B” of BJP that has been brought in Bengal to cut Muslim votes, the party’s chief Asaduddin Owaisi had said that the chief minister should not consider Muslim voters her property. He also slammed the ruling party and said it should try to put its house in order and prevent the exodus of its leaders.
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