(With additional inputs) Kolkata, Dec 16 (PTI) Ending weeks of speculations, TMC heavyweight Suvendu Adhikari resigned as an MLA of the state assembly Wednesday further fuelling the theory of him switching over to the saffron camp.
Adhikari, who has resigned from the state cabinet last month and has been maintaining distance with the party leadership, arrived at the state assembly this evening and submitted his resignation to the assembly secretary.
He was TMC MLA from Nandigram assembly constituency of the East Midnapore district.
'I do hereby tender my resignation from the member of the West Bengal Legislative Assembly. Steps may be taken for its immediate acceptance,' Adhikari wrote in his resignation letter.
Suvendu Adhikari had helped Mamata Banerjee in her anti- land acquisition movemnent against the Left Front government in Nandigram in 2009 that catapulted her to power in 2011.
After the efforts of rapprochement failed, Adhikari, without naming anyone, has criticised the TMC leadership on a range of issues.
According to the sources close to him, Adhikari is likely to resign from the party's primary membership within a day or two and is expected to cross over to the saffron camp later this week.
Notably, Union Home minister Amit Shah is scheduled to be on a two-day visit to Bengal starting Saturday.
Reacting to the development, TMC MP Kalyan Banerjee said, 'it's a good relief'.
'It's a good relief that he has resigned from the post of MLA. He is overambitious and wants to join BJP as he wants to become the next CM or deputy CM. He can go ahead, we are confident of winning the next assembly polls under the leadership of Mamata Banerjee,' Banerjee said.
BJP national vice-president Mukul Roy hailed Adhikari's decision and said the saffron party would welcome him with open arms.
'The day Suvendu Adhikari had resigned from the state cabinet, I had said I would be happy if he leaves the TMC and join the BJP. Today he has resigned as MLA, and I welcome his decision,' Roy said.
BJP state president Dilip Ghosh also lauded Adhikari's decision and said the BJP would be happy to welcome him.
Efforts by veteran TMC leaders like Saugata Roy and Sudip Bandopadhyay for reconciliation had failed to placate Adhikari.
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'.
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 influential political family gave Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's rally in their stronghold West Medinipur district last week a miss, prompting her to accuse the BJP of trying to break her party by using 'moneybag'.
The Adhikari family wields considerable influence in at least 40-45 assembly segments in West Medinipur, Bankura, Purulia, Jhargram, parts of Birbhum -- mainly in the Junglemahal region and areas in minority-dominated Murshidabad district.
His desertion may adversely impact the TMC's prospects in these areas in the next assembly polls for 294 seats. PTI PNT SNS SNS