Kolkata, Nov 21 | Till now, posters and banners were erected in the name of West Bengal Irrigation and Transport Minister Subhendu Adhikari in various districts.
On Saturday, the same cut-outs featuring the Trinamool Congress Lok Sabha MP were erected right in the heart of Kolkata, triggering speculation of defection ahead of the high-voltage state Assembly elections scheduled next year. He has also seen attending ‘non-political’ events in various districts over the last one month.
Big banners were put up at the busy Shyambazar seven-point crossing, Biddon Street, Bagbazar, Vivekananda Road, Shyampukur and many other neighbourhoods of north Kolkata on Saturday morning along with posters of BJP state unit chief Dilip Ghosh. At the bottom of the banners, it was written that they were put up by the followers of Adhikari.
BJP MP from Barrackpore, Arjun Singh, said on Saturday that the state’s ruling Trinamool Congress is trying to sideline Adhikari the same way it had sidelined him.
“If on Ashikari joins the BJP, Trinamool Congress will not be able to remain in power,” Singh told mediapersons. Without naming anyone, he further claimed that as many as five Trinamool Congress MPs are currently ready to join the saffron brigade and they can resign anytime soon.
“At least five Trinamool MPs are ready to switch to the BJP and they can join us anytime soon,” the BJP MP said.
He also claimed that veteran Trinamool leader and Lok Sabha member Sougata Roy is also there in the list. “Roy says something else in front of the camera and talks about Mamata Banerjee as if he is trying to bridge the gap between Adhikari and the Trinamool Congress. But once you remove the camera, he will be ready to join the BJP,” Singh told mediapersons.
The statement raised speculation over the political allegiance of Roy — will he join the opposition camp ahead of the crucial state Assembly polls scheduled in 2021? Roy, however, brushed aside the claim, saying: “I will quit politics or rather prefer to die but will never join hands with the BJP. I don’t believe in their political ideology.”
Senior Trinamool leader and Lok Sabha MP Kakali Ghosh Dastidar said on Saturday that Adhikari is a senior and very important leader of the Trinamool Congress.
Earlier, two senior most Trinamool MPs, Sougata Ray and Sudip Bandopadhyay, were recently sent as emissaries by party supremo Mamata Banerjee to iron out the differences with Adhikari. Even Prashant Kishor, who is currently working as an election strategist for the Trinamool Congress, had rushed to East Midnapore to meet Adhikari’s family and held talks with his father and veteran partly leader Sisir Adhikari. But both sides remained tight-lipped about the discussions.
“As long as I am in the party, I cannot speak out openly on any platform. I don’t indulge in such unethical things,” Adhikari had said while addressing a non-political rally recently.