TMC MP Sisir Adhikari divested of another post after son Suvendu joined BJP

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(Eds: Adds details) Kolkata, Jan 13 (PTI) Nearly a month after political heavyweight Suvendu Adhikari joined the BJP, his father and TMC Lok Sabha MP Sisir Adhikari was on Wednesday removed as East Midnapore district president in continued attenuation of the Adhikari family in West Bengal's ruling party.

Senior TMC minister Soumen Mahapatra, a known detractor of the Adhikari family, replaced Sisir Adhikari, who was made chairperson of the core committee of the party's district unit, a less important post.

The development came a day after Sisir Adhikari was removed from the post of chairman of Digha-Shankarpur Development Authority (DSDA).

TMC MLA Akhil Giri, also a detractor of the Adhikari family, replaced Sishir Adhikari as the chief of DSDA, which is responsible for the upkeep and development of the beach town in East Midnapore.

In a sign of the widening rift with the TMC, the Adhikaris have been maintaining distance from the party and the government.

'Party supremo Mamata Banerjee has assigned me a responsibility. I will work with Sisirda to strengthen the party in the district,' Mahapatra said.

When contacted, the 80-year-old Adhikari said he is not bothered about the development.

'I was the district president since 2006. If they (TMC) felt I was not needed, then it is upto them to decide on it. I have nothing to say,' he said.

Senior TMC leader Sougata Roy said Adhikari was unwell and unable to discharge his duties as district president. So he was replaced with a comparatively younger leader, the TMC MP said.

According to sources, Adhikari had told his close associates that he was unhappy with the way party leaders have been attacking his family.

Suvendu switched over to the BJP last month and later persuaded his brother Soumendu to change sides after he was removed as administrator of the Kanthi municipality.

His another younger brother Dibyendu Adhikari is the MP from Tamluk Lok Sabha seat.

Reacting to the development, BJP leaders said they hoped the veteran parliamentarian would join the saffron party.

'We are hopeful that he will also join us. He is a veteran leader,' BJP national vice president Mukul Roy said.

While speaking to reporters, Suvendu said, it is for his father to decide his next course of action as the TMC will never reward his competence.

'TMC has turned into a private company. It has no place for competent leaders. It is place for sycophants. It is up to my father what he wants to do next,' he said.

According to TMC sources, the party leadership was not happy with senior Adhikari's silence over Suvendu's ceaseless attack on the party after he switched over to the BJP.

The influential political family gave Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's rally in their stronghold of West Medinipur district a miss last month, prompting her to accuse the BJP of trying to break her party by using 'moneybags'.

The Adhikari family wields considerable influence in at least 40-45 assembly segments in East and West Midnapore, Bankura, Purulia, Jhargram, parts of Birbhum -- mainly in the Junglemahal region - and areas in minority-dominated Murshidabad district. PTI PNT SK SK