KOLKATA: Rejecting the TMC leadership’s claim of a rapprochement with party heavyweight Suvendu Adhikari as “false”, people close to the rebellious leader said Wednesday he is unpacified as his grievances have not been addressed.
They said Adhikari, an influential leader with a mass base who had resigned from the Mamata Banerjee cabinet and other positions that he held a few days ago, has maintained that it is “difficult for him to work with the party”.
Adhikari is said to be miffed at the way senior TMC leaders went to town on Tuesday claiming all differences with him had been sorted out after a high-level meeting that he had with TMC MPs Abhishek Banerjee, Saugata Roy and Sudip Bandopadhyay, besides election strategist Prashant Kishor.
Sources close to Adhikari said he did not want the details of what transpired at the meeting during the back-channel talks to be leaked to the media.
Adhikari, TMC sources said, has conveyed to the party leadership that “it will be tough for him to work together with the party as its leaders had gone to the media making false claims without the problems raised by him getting resolved and without giving him a chance to speak”.
He has been incommunicado after the meeting.
After Adhikari made known his displeasure, TMC veteran and Lok Sabha MP Saugata Roy said, “Whatever I had stated on Tuesday night was the truth about the outcome of the meeting. Now, if Suvendu has changed his position, it is for him to clarify. I have nothing more to say.”
Roy replied in the negative when asked if there is a possibility of initiating fresh talks with the sulking leader.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a TMC leader said Adhikari was unhappy that Roy jumped the gun and claimed on Tuesday night that “everything has been sorted out” days ahead of a press conference scheduled for December 6.
“Suvendu da had sought some time after the meeting to express his views. But some party leaders tried to paint a different picture altogether. He didn’t like it. And now everything has reached a dead end,” a leader close to Adhikari said.
Repeated calls to the former minister on Tuesday and Wednesday went unanswered.
The BJP’s reaction to the development was on expected lines.
“The TMC is coming up with new tricks every day. Now it has been caught red-handed. Any leader who is efficient will never find a place in a party like the TMC,” BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya said.
Adhikari, a mascot of the Nandigram movement that added to the political heft of Mamata Banerjee and catapulted her to power, resigned as minister of transport, irrigation and waterways last week, setting off speculation that he may quit the ruling TMC ahead of the assembly polls next year.
Several rounds of back-channel talks to pacify the leader, believed to be unhappy over organisational changes and the growing clout of Abhishek Banerjee and Kishor, have come to nought.
Himself a two-term former MP, Adhikari’s father Sisir Adhikari and brother Dibyendu are sitting TMC MPs from Tamluk and Kanthi Lok Sabha constituencies respectively.
The family wields considerable influence in at least 40-45 assembly segments in West Midnapore, Bankura, Purulia, Jhargram, parts of Birbhum- mainly in the Junglemahal region, and areas in minority-dominated Murshidabad.
His desertion may adversely impact the TMC’s prospects in these areas in the assembly polls likely in April-May next year.