TMC holds meeting with Suvendu, says all problems solved

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(With additional inputs and deleting words in 8th para ) Kolkata, Dec 1 (PTI) Four days after TMC heavyweight Suvendu Adhikari resigned from the state cabinet, Trinamool Congress leader Abhishek Banerjee and election strategist Prashant Kishor on Tuesday met him, following which the party claimed that 'all the issues have been resolved'.

The two-hour-long meeting, which was held in north Kolkata, was held in the presence of Adhikari, Banerjee, Prashant Kishor and MPs Saugata Roy and Sudip Bandopadhyay.

This was the third round of talks between TMC top brass and Adhikari. The first two rounds of dialogue were inconclusive.

'The meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere. All the problems have been sorted out. The party is united. There was a need for a face-to-face meeting to sort out issues. So it was done. The issue has been resolved,' Roy told PTI over the phone after the meeting.

Roy said he is likely to come out with a statement on Wednesday.

Repeated calls to Adhikari to get his version of the meeting went unanswered.

Adhikari, the face of Nandigram in TMC's anti-farmland acquisition movement and a mass leader, is said to be unhappy over organizational changes in the party and the growing clout of Prashant Kishor and Banerjee in the decision making process of the Mamata Banerjee government. He had tendered his resignation from the cabinet on Friday but did not quit as MLA.

Banerjee, a Lok Sabha MP from Diamond Harbour, is the nephew of TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee.

According to TMC sources, Adhikari was unhappy with the organizational rejig effected a few months ago, especially with the scrapping of the post of party district observer.

Adhikari was an observer for the party for Malda, Murshidabad, Bankura, Purulia and East Midnapore districts.

The sources said two things that worked to retain Adhikari were his father Sisir Adhikari, a TMC MP, who was not in favour of his son quitting the party and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee keeping the three portfolios he held - Transport, Waterways and Irrigation- with her and not distributing them among others.

'Suvendy Adhikari has been assured that his importance in the party will remain intact. Even though the post of the observer has been scrapped, he is likely to be given a plum post in the party and the government,' a senior TMC leader on condition of anonymity.

Adhikari had himself refrained from making any anti-party comment during his two apolitical programmes after he resigned from the state cabinet.

West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh, who had predicted that the TMC would disintegrate very soon after Adhikari's resignation, said the situation in the ruling party and its leader is its 'internal matter' and he will not comment on it.

Suvendu Adhikari is a member of the powerful Adhikari family of East Midnapore district. His father Sisir Adhikari and younger brother Dibyendu Adhikari are TMC MPs from Tamluk and the Kanthi Lok Sabha constituencies respectively.

Apart from his home district of East Midnapore, Adhikari influences over at least 40-45 assembly segments that are in West Midnapore, Bankura, Purulia and Jhargram, and parts of Birbhum -- the tribal-dominated Junglemahal region and parts of minority-dominated Murshidabad district.

This assumes significance as the state polls are due in April-May 2021 when Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee seeks to return to power for the third consecutive term.

Elections to the 294-member West Bengal assembly are likely in April-May next year. PTI PNT KK KK KK KK