The Suvendu Adhikari saga finally reached its conclusion as he officially joined the BJP during Amit Shah’s visit to West Bengal with a battery of leaders behind him. Adhikari led 6 MLAs and 1 MP into the BJP ahead of the polls as he sets his eyes on dislodging the Mamata government.
Three years after the BJP snared Mamata’s then number two, Mukul Roy, from the TMC, Suvendu Adhikari, arguably the biggest mass leader in the TMC after Mamata, has joined the BJP and has also brought a battery of MLAs, MP, and councillors with him. Many more are expected to join his crusade in the coming months.
This essentially means that in the space of three years, two of Mamata’s closest confidantes have switched sides and joined the BJP. The BJP which won 18 seats in the Lok Sabha Elections of 2019 and if one extrapolates the LS data, it would amount to 128 seats in the West Bengal Assembly of 294 seats. Adhikari is believed to hold sway in 35 Assembly seats which may well prove to be decisive come the elections.
While Suvendu Adhikari joined BJP in presence of Home Minister Amit Shah, it remains to be seen what the future holds for his father Sisir Adhikari and younger brother Dibyendu Adhikari, who are TMC MPs from Tamluk and Kanthi Lok Sabha. It certainly won’t be surprising if the entire Adhikari family quit the TMC.
The importance of Suvendu Adhikari when it comes to Bengal politics is enormous. Adhikari played a key role in the Nandigram movement in 2007 which eventually ended the three-decade rule of the Left thereby becoming Mamata’s apple of the eye.
Since then he went from strength to strength and has a proven track record of winning be it the Assembly or the Lok Sabha elections. Over the years he has extended his clout beyond his home district of Purba Medinipur to Jangalmahal — Bankura, Purulia, and Paschim Medinipur districts.
It is important to note that these four districts together constitute 9 Lok Sabha and 63 Assembly seats.
Adhikari, whose influence also extends to South Bengal, was one of the handful TMC leaders who hadn’t had to rely on Mamata’s popularity for votes with his presence on the ground and support within the party enough to vertically split the TMC at will.
After Mukul Roy defected to the BJP, it was expected that the 49-year-old TMC leader Suvendu Adhikari would officially become the no.2 in the TMC owing to his huge support base and organisation skills. However, nepotism prevailed and Mamata parachuted her nephew Abhishek Banerjee, a political novice as her trusted lieutenant and ever since then, things have gone downhill in the party.
The emergence of Prashant Kishor’s I-PAC has caused immeasurable harm to the party with senior leaders feeling ignored as Abhishek and Kishor are working in tandem and ruling the roost in the party.
“Instead of fixing the holes, the captain of the ship chose a novice to steer a ship of 294 seats,” said TMC loyalist Diptangshu Chowdhury.
As Suvendu Adhikari got increasingly sidelined in the TMC due to dynasty politics, he jumped ship to the BJP to fulfil his lofty political ambitions. For Adhikari to become a vital cog in the BJP, he has to play a starring role in ending the rule of Mamata Banerjee and the TMC, come next year’s Assembly Elections, which by the looks of it is a bygone conclusion.