MLA Jitendra Tiwari quits TMC, hails Suvendu

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(Eds: Updating with latest inputs) Asansol (WB), Dec 17 (PTI) MLA Jitendra Tiwari resigned from the Trinamool Congress on Thursday, besides quitting as the chief of the Asansol Municipal Corporation, fuelling speculations that he may switch over to the BJP.

Tiwari, who was the Paschim Bardhaman district chief of the Trinamool Congress, hailed Suvendu Adhikari as the second-most important leader of the party after Mamata Banerjee.

'I have resigned from the post of the chairman of the Board of Administrators of Asansol Municipal Corporation. If I am not allowed to work, what will I do with the post? So, I resigned,' he told reporters in the afternoon.

Hours later, he announced that he has also resigned from the primary membership of the party, giving up the post of district president.

'There is no point in continuing in the TMC as I am not being allowed to work for the people,' Tiwari alleged.

However, he has not quit as the MLA of Pandabeswar.

Tiwari wrote to state Municipal Affairs Minister Firhad Hakim a few days back, stating that the Asansol Municipal Corporation has been deprived of Rs 2,000 crore central funds as the state government had created hurdles in its selection in the smart city project.

Training his guns at the minister, Tiwari said, 'Sycophants like him are destroying the party.' 'The best way to save the party is Mamata Banerjee announcing Suvendu Adhikari as her successor. After her, Suvendu is the biggest mass leader in the TMC. If you deny the fact, then your defeat is imminent,' he added.

Asked if he would join the BJP, Tiwari said he will not speak about the matter in the press.

He alleged that his MLA office was attacked after he resigned from the civic body, forcing him to quit the TMC.

'I had earlier said that whatever I had to do, I will do after talking to Mamata Banerjee. But after I resigned from the Asansol Municipal Corporation, my MLA office was attacked.

This was done on the instructions of a senior TMC leader. So I decided to quit the party,' he said.

He was supposed to meet the chief minister in Kolkata on Friday but is now unlikely to meet her, sources said.

Tiwari met Adhikari, who quit the party and the government, at TMC MP Sunil Mandal's residence in the Kanksa area of the district on Wednesday evening, even as he skipped an earlier meeting with the party's leadership to iron out the differences.

The Trinamool Congress called him a 'traitor'.

'Who was Jitendra Tiwari, till a few years back? Whatever he is today, he is because of the party. Now if he is leaving the party, then he is nothing more than a traitor and a weathercock,' TMC spokesperson Saugata Roy said.

Tiwari recently also resigned from the board of governors of a college in Asansol. PTI PNT SOM SOM