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West Bengal: After Suvendu Adhikari’s exit, four TMC ministers skip cabinet meeting, speculations rife

The political landscape in West Bengal heats up as the state gears up for assembly elections in 2021

Days after TMC leader Suvendu Adhikari called it quits, four West Bengal government’s ministers have skipped cabinet meeting called by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at the state secretariat on Tuesday. They are Forest Minister Rajib Banerjee, Rabindranath Ghosh, North Bengal Development Minister, Tourism Minister Gautam Deb and Chandranath Sinha, Minister for Fisheries. This led to speculations that they may soon jump the TMC ship to join the BJP.

Covid kept ministers away, they claim

Ghosh was tested positive for Covid-19, and he is currently staying away from administrative activities. At present, Mamata’s latest initiative, ‘Duare Sarkar’ (government at your door-step), is carried out in his constituency, which is said to be another reason for not attending the meeting. Deb, who is from north Bengal, decided not to travel to Kolkata, keeping the Covid-19 situation in mind. Sinha, who is from Bolpur, claimed that he did not attend the meeting as he was busy preparing for CM’s visit in Bolpur on December 28 and 29. He said, “I am very much with the TMC and I will be with the party. There is no question of shifting my political alignment.”

Rajib Banerjee not happy with party’s functionaries

In recent times, Banerjee has stayed away from the party’s activities on several occasions. It is believed that he is not pleased with the functioning of a section of the party functionaries. Though Partha Chatterjee, general secretary of TMC, has tried to pacify the situation and met Banerjee twice, there are rumours that he may soon leave TMC and join BJP. He had said that those who are hardworking and dedicated are not getting importance in TMC. When TMC leaders had reached out to him he had said, “I am not taking back my earlier statement I had made at an apolitical function in Kolkata. I spoke my mind. I will not tell the media if there have been talks with the party.”

Recent shuffle in Party leaders stirred WB politics

Several TMC leaders, including former Cabinet Minister Suvendu Adhikari, have left Trinamool Congress and joined hands with Bharatiya Janata Party. Reports suggest that Home Minister Amit Shah will visit Bengal more often for the preparations of upcoming Assembly elections in the state to be held in April-May 2021. BJP had won only three seats in the last Assembly elections but managed to grab 18 out of 42 Parliamentary seats in the 2019 general elections. Increasing attacks on BJP workers in the state are being seen as an attempt of TMC to curb the popularity of BJP in the state.

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