Suvendu Adhikari, the disgruntled leader of TMC, is being pursued by the party, at all costs. TMC, which is known as a one-woman party with no other leader important enough to be pursued if s/he is crossing sides, is looking desperate to bring back Adhikari in the leadership fold.
TMC has deputed senior party leader and member of parliament Sugata Roy to negotiate a truce with the 49-year-old MLA from Nandigram who was Transport minister in Mamata Banerjee government before he resigned a few days ago.
Adhikari is so important to TMC that Abhishek Banerjee, the nephew of Mamata Banerjee who is seen as heir apparently attended the meeting in which senior leaders of the party were negotiating a truce with the former transport minister.
Adhikari, who wanted the number two position in the party after senior party leader Mukul Roy joined BJP, was sidelined since Abhishek Banerjee roped in political consultant Prashant Kishore for the 2021 assembly election. Adhikari was not happy with the changes the party was carrying in its leadership. The matter escalated when the Kishore-Banerjee duo tried to interfere with the party leadership in Paschim and Purvi Medinipur- the home turf of Adhikari family.
Despite TMC’s all-out efforts to bring back Adhikari, after which Sugata Roy’s claimed that “all problems solved”, his return looks very unlikely. After the meeting, he said that it is increasingly difficult for him to work with the party. A party that runs on “high command culture” going all out to pursue Adhikari to bring him back shows the importance of the Nandigram MLA. Previously Prashant Kishor travelled to Medinipur district to talk to Adhikari but had to return empty-handed because the former refused to entertain him.
A natural course for Suvendu would be to join BJP before the 2011 general election, which will be a massive gain for the saffron party. However, an alternative for him would be to float his own party, given the fact he enjoys popular support in many districts of the state, and his family members are already active in politics. His father, Sisir Adhikari, also a mass leader, is Lok Sabha MP from Kanthi constituency; his brother and two of his sons also represent assembly constituencies in West Bengal Legislative Assembly.
So, even if Adhikari floats a new party along with his family members, he would be able to cut a large number of TMC votes, benefitting BJP. While TMC leaders are saying the doors are still open for negotiation, Adhikari has told his supporters to be ready to hit streets. Suvendu can sway the votes in at least 40 assembly constituencies in the districts of Purulia, Jhargram, Murshidabad, Malda, Bankura, Bishenpur, East Medinipur, and West Medinipur.
Given the fact Suvendu’s area of influence are some of the Southern districts of West Bengal where BJP is weak, his exit from TMC is a big boon for the saffron party. In the 2019 general election, BJP won most of the seats in the Western region and Northern region of the state but lost badly in the Southern region.
If Suvendu can influence results in the 30-40 seats of Malda, Murshidabad, East Medinipur, and West Medinipur, BJP can easily triumph in the 2021 assembly elections. If we go by the assembly analysis of the 2019 general election results, BJP won in 122 assembly constituencies while TMC won in 163. If the results can be reversed even on even 30 seats, BJP’s tally would reach 152- 148 needed for a majority in the 294 seats legislative assembly- while TMC would be reduced to 133.
Therefore, whether Adhikari forms his own outfit or joins BJP, in both conditions, a victory for the saffron party looks very likely. And, given the fact Suvendu Adhikari could single-handedly cause the downfall of the party in the 2021 assembly, a high command party is so desperate to pursue him.