Bengal BJP MP attacks Suvendu Adhikari after quitting party post; then withdraws letter
Kolkata: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member of Parliament Saumitra Khan on Wednesday announced his resignation as chief of the party’s youth wing in West Bengal and launched a blistering attack on party colleague Suvendu Adhikari. Khan, whose outburst led another BJP leader Rajib Banerjee to target Adhikari as well, however, withdrew his resignation nearly seven hours later, reportedly after the intervention of the BJP’s central leaders.
“I take an opportunity to inform that under the instruction of our BJP leader’s BL Santhosh ji, Amit Shah ji and Tejasvi Surya ji, I withdraw my resignation as a mark of respect,” Khan, who represents Bishnupur seat in the Lok Sabha, tweeted late on Wednesday evening.
The brief message did not refer to his scathing attack on Suvendu Adhikari, the leader of opposition in the Bengal assembly, earlier in the day that accused Suvendu Adhikari of promoting himself and misleading the party leadership.
“The present LoP (leader of opposition) of the assembly is trying to project himself and not the party (BJP). He is frequently going to Delhi and misleading the central leaders while trying to project himself as the top leader. The way the party’s Bengal unit is moving nothing good can happen. I had even pointed out some flaws to the central leaders before the polls, but I was side-lined,” Khan, who subsequently clarified that he would remain with the BJP, said in his video message on Facebook.
Soon, Rajib Banerjee also joined in. The leader of the opposition shouldn’t unnecessarily attack the chief minister who has returned to power for the third time with a sweeping victory, and instead should focus on how to check the rise in fuel prices, Banerjee said in a social media post.
Suvendu Adhikari and his two in-house critics, Saumitra Khan and Rajib Banerjee, were earlier with the Trinamool Congress.
In January 2019, Saumitra Khan was the first among the three to join the BJP, and won the Bishnupur Lok Sabha seat in the general elections that he had won in 2014 as a TMC candidate. Suvendu Adhikari joined the party in December 2020, contested from Nandigram and delivered chief minister Mamata Banerjee first electoral defeat in her political career of over three decades.
Rajib Banerjee joined the BJP in January 2021, just two months before the assembly elections, and fought elections on a BJP ticket but did not clear the electoral test. This isn’t the first time that Rajib Banerjee has spoken out against his party and sparked speculation about his next move in June when he went to meet Trinamool Congress’ state general secretary Kunal Ghosh at his residence.
Adhikari brushed aside the darts that his two colleagues were throwing at him.
“Many people have this habit of posting on social media. These shouldn’t be taken seriously. When the state cabinet was formed, some TMC MLAs had made some comments on social media. They were not taken seriously. Today I am not taking this seriously,” said Suvendu Adhikari.
Kunal Ghosh said Rajib Banerjee had made a valid point.
“Saumitra may have spoken his mind. But whatever he has said is absolutely right. Adhikari joined the BJP to escape from central agencies and overnight he started personally attacking TMC leaders. But that didn’t help BJP. Instead, his joining triggered an ugly fight between the old times and newcomers,” said TMC’s Kunal Ghosh.