Kolkata: In an attempt to bridge the widening gap between the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and himself, the disgruntled party leader Suvendu Adhikari met TMC MP Abhisek Banerjee and poll strategist Prashant Kishore in a secret meeting at a private residence in North Kolkata on Tuesday evening.
A senior associate of I-PAC, Kishore’s political consultancy firm, confirmed to The Wire that the meeting’s outcome is ‘positive’, adding: “He (Suvendu Adhikari) isn’t leaving the party.”
The meeting was kept under wraps and all the leaders came for the meeting in their private cars without security, to avoid media attention.
The other participants in the meeting were veteran TMC leaders Saugata Roy and Sudip Bandyopadhyay.
“Everyone present voiced their opinion. We had a long discussion, all issues were sorted out and we reached a successful conclusion. We shall all work together. Suvendu (Adhikari) will announce his decision very soon,” Saugata Roy told The Wire.
Though Adhikari previously had several rounds of meetings with Roy, nothing substantial was achieved. Moreover, last Friday, the discontented MLA resigned as the state transport and irrigation minister.
Adhikari also resigned from the post of chairman of Hooghly River Bridge Commissioners’ (HRBC) and Haldia Development Authority (HDA) . Without any delay, the state government appointed TMC MP Kalyan Banerjee as the new head of HRBC but the HDA chairman is yet to be appointed. Significantly, Adhikari has not resigned from the TMC.
The dissident leader went all out against his own party recently and has not attended its public meetings.
The former minister and arguably the Trinamool Congress’s (TMC’s) most crucial leader after Mamata Banerjee, upped the ante against his own party at a public rally in Nandigram on November 10.
In a scathing attack, Adhikari targeted Trinamool leaders. Adhikari said, “They suddenly came to Nandigram now, just ahead of the election. Where were they for 13 years?”
Tuesday’s meeting is significant as many in TMC believe that Adhikari is dissatisfied with the rise of Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee. The Wire earlier learnt from a TMC source that Suvendu Adhikari has a problem with Prashant Kishor’s firm – Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC) – taking major decisions on the party’s functioning.
However, a senior Trinamool MP rubbished such claims. The MP said, “These are baseless allegations and it is false rhetoric floated by opposition parties. Suvendu is the party’s asset and one of the tallest leaders in the party. He is a member of the party’s highest decision-making committee.”
Reacting to today’s meeting, political analyst Biswanath Chakraborty said, “Definitely today’s meeting is positive for Trinamool. However, all issues were not sorted and another meeting is likely to happen on December 6.”
Adhikari has influence over four-five districts of rural Bengal – East Medinipur, West Medinipur, Murshidabad, Uttar Dinajpur and parts of Malda. Thus, if he decides to exit the party, the move could have electoral ramifications in these districts.
Since the rift between Adhikari and his party surfaced, BJP leaders in Bengal repeatedly advised him to join the saffron party.