Former West Bengal minister Rajib Banerjee on Friday quit the Trinamool Congress hours after resigning from the post of MLA, reported PTI. Banerjee had stepped down as the West Bengal forest minister on January 22.
In his resignation letter addressed to party chief Mamata Banerjee, he wrote: “I do hereby tender my resignation as a member of the All India Trinamool Congress as well as from all other positions held by me in the party and its associates with immediate effect.”
Earlier in the day, he had announced his resignation as an MLA. “It is with my sincere gratitude that I am resigning as [a] member of [the] West Bengal Legislative Assembly,” Rajib Banerjee said in a Facebook post. “Serving for the people of West Bengal has been my life’s greatest achievement, I am gratified of what has been accomplished during nearly 10 years of my term. I deeply appreciate the confidence you have placed in me.”
Banerjee is expected to join the Bharatiya Janata Party, according to the Hindustan Times. BJP leaders in the state have said some political leaders were likely to join their party during Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit. Shah will be in the state over the weekend for the party’s election campaign.
TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said he wanted these leaders who were quitting the party to contest from the same constituency so that voters can decide their fate.
Jai Prakash Majumdar, BJP’s state unit president, said the string of resignations showed that the TMC was heading for a downfall. “Many leaders have repeatedly said that it is hard to continue in the TMC with respect and honour and that the party is heading towards the intensive care unit,” he said. “These incidents [minister and MLAs deserting the party] just reflect the same.”
Political turmoil began for the TMC after former state minister and a close associate of Mamata Banerjee, Suvendu Adhikari, quit the party in December. After a long drawn period of public dissatisfaction with the ruling TMC, Adhikari joined the BJP during Shah’s two-day visit to West Bengal on December 19. Earlier, he resigned from all the positions he held in the Trinamool Congress on December 17. This came a day after he resigned as a member of the Legislative Assembly and almost 20 days after he resigned as West Bengal transport minister. He had quit from the post of chairperson of the Hooghly River Bridge Commissioners too.
Besides Adhikari, six MLAs of the TMC, one each from the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the Communist Party of India and the Congress also joined the BJP. Two-time TMC MP from Bardhaman Purba Lok Sabha constituency Sunil Mondal also defected to the BJP.
On January 5, West Bengal Minister of State for Youth Services and Sports Laxmi Ratan Shukla had resigned from his post. He will, however, continue as an MLA.