BJP in touch with Suvendu, but nothing decided as of now

Talks regarding the disgruntled Trinamool leader’s conditions for joining the party are yet to begin.

The BJP central leadership is in touch with disgruntled Trinamool Congress mass leader Suvendu Adhikari, who resigned from the Mamata Banerjee cabinet on Friday, but nothing has been decided as of now regarding his joining the saffron party, sources in it said.

Mr. Adhikari, they said, is in good terms with some of the saffron camp leaders but talks regarding his conditions for joining the party are yet to begin.

The BJP is, however, hopeful about his joining as it feels that the heavyweight TMC leader has “few options left,” a senior BJP leader said.

“We are in touch with Suvendu Adhikari. We share good terms with him but nothing has been decided as of now reagrding his joining us. We have to wait for few more days to have a clear picture,” the leader said on condition of anonymity.

Although Mr. Adhikari has resigned from the Mamata Banerjee cabinet in which he was the Minister in charge of transport, waterways and irrigation, he has not resigned from TMC or as MLA.

“After resigning as Minister it will be tough for Mr. Adhikari to continue in Trinamool. So the options before him are floating a new party or joining BJP or Congress,” the BJP leader said.

“It takes a lot of money and human resource to float a new political outfit, which we don’t think is possible at this juncture,” he said.

The option for Mr. Adhikari to join the Congress is less as the party is very weak in Bengal. “So the only option left is the BJP, which we think is the most beneficial proposition for both of us,” he said.

Sources said Mr. Adhikari’s exit from the cabinet is seen as a prelude to his severing of his two-decade-old association withe Trinamool Congress right form its inception in 1988.

The Trinamool leadership, which had initiated backchannel talks with him, has decided to adopt a “wait and watch” approach and will not initiate any further talks to address his grievances, sources in the party said.

Apart from his home district of East Midnapore, Mr. Adhikari has influence over at least 40-45 Assembly segments in tribal Jangalmahal area comprising the districts of West Midnapore, Bankura, Purulia and Jhargram and parts of Birbhum and minority-dominated Murshidabad district.

This assumes significance as polls in the State, where BJP has made deep inroads, is due in April-May 2021 when Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will seek to return to power for the third consecutive term.

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