Medinipur, West Bengal: Bringing an end to all speculation, days after quitting Trinamool Congress, a key 'mass leader' in West Bengal, Suvendu Adhikari on Saturday joined BJP in presence of Union Home Minister and the saffron party's chief architect of organisational growth - Amit Shah.
The mega event was also graced by a number of sitting and former Trinamool Congress lawmakers, state legislators and even leaders from Congress and the Left parties - who also joined the BJP giving the Lotus party a major edge in their battle against Mamata Banerjee in the warcry of 2021.
Amit Shah joyously welcomed Suvendu's decision to join the BJP and said Adhikari has stood up against Mamata as she deviated from the ideology of "Maa, Maati aur Maanus" to "nepotism and appeasement politics".
"Slogan of any party is always good; but with the Trinamool, the cherished slogan of Ma, Mati and Manush was transformed into politics of Tolabaaz (corruption and extortion), appeasement (of Muslims) and a politics that gave unbridled authorities to her Bhaipo (nephew)", Amit Shah said in presence of leaders such as Dilip Ghosh, Kailash Vijayvargiya and Mukul Roy. In his spirited speech, Adhikari said, "a former Trinamool leader Mukul Roy always used to encourage me to take a decision to uphold my self-respect and I am happy that I could do it today".
As many as 11 MLAs, a sitting MP and a former lawmaker joined BJP. Besides Suvendu Adhikari, who was MLA from politically sensitive Nandigram, Tapasi Mondal, Ashoke Dinda, Sudip Mukherjee (Congress), Saikat Panja, Shilbhadra Dutta, Dipali Biswas, Sukra Munda, Shyamapda Mukherjee, Biswajit Kundu, Banasri Maity, Satyan Roy, Dashrath Tirkey and Bardhaman East MP Sunil Mondal joined the saffron party. The mega event at Medinipur College ground marks a new beginning in West Bengal politics as the event is only expected to further escalate BJP's battle to wrest power in the erstwhile Left bastion and where BJP was a negligible force even a few years ago.
In a dramatic change in political scenario in the state, the BJP has now emerged as a key competitor to the Trinamool Congress pushing the erstwhile dominant Left Front and the Congress party into the periphery. BJP's rise began with 2019 Lok Sabha polls when the party could win as many as 18 seats as against its paltry 7 MLAs in the state assembly polls in 2016. Among those who joined the saffron party are Tapsi Mondal, Haldia MLA from CPI-M.
On the background of the stage was a catchy slogan 'aar noe anyae (No More Injustice)'.
In his spirited speech, Suvendu Adhikari said he was a true soldier of Trinamool Congress and it is also true that in 2019 he had given a slogan of 'BJP Hatao', but now everything is changed; "and from tomorrow, I shall say Tolabaaz Bhaipo Hatao (Let us get rid of Nephew)' - a crystal clear message against Mamata's nephew Abhishek Banerjee.
Amit Shah also took a dig at Mamata Banerjee. "Why are so many people leaving Trinamool Congress? Because of the misrule, corruption and nepotism of Mamata Banerjee. Didi, this is just the beginning. By the time elections come, you will be left all alone," he cautioned the Chief Minister, who had unseated the communists in a high voltage battle in 2011.
Both Amit Shah and Adhikari's reference to growing discontent among the people and party leaders is actually triggered by Mamata's dependence on her nephew and new found advisors like Prashant Kishore.
Suvendu also said: "I have a long association with Amit Shah ji. I have been loved by him like an elder brother. When I was afflicted by COVID-19, no one from the Trinamool for whom I have given 21 years of my life, asked me how I was. But Amit Shahji enquired about me twice".
BJP leader Rahul Sinha took advantage of the occasion and sought to caution the policemen against 'taking sides' in a political battle between the BJP and the Trinamool Congress.
Lately, the centre and Mamata regime also fought over transfer of three senior IPS officers.
The Trinamool dissident first resigned from the cabinet on November 27 and then from the party on December 16.
His supporters - calling themselves 'Dada's footsoldiers' - had promised a political storm more fierce than Cyclone Amphan to sweep across West Bengal.