21 Mar 2021: West Bengal election: Suvendu Adhikari's father leaves TMC, joins BJP
Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Sisir Adhikari on Sunday joined the rival Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Adhikari's son, Suvendu Adhikari, was a close aide of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who had defected to the BJP last December.
The development comes as a big blow to Banerjee's TMC mere days before the Assembly election in West Bengal.
Here are more details.
Details: Save Bengal from atrocities: Adhikari
Adhikari, who represents the parliamentary constituency of Kanthi, shared a stage with Union Minister Amit Shah on Sunday at Egra in Purba Medinipur.
He then asked people to "Save Bengal from atrocities," and ended his speech with the "Jai Shree Ram" slogan.
He was expected to switch to the BJP ever since his son joined the saffron party.
Politics: Adhikaris influence over 30 Bengal seats
Adhikari—who had been with the TMC for 23 years—was made a Minister in former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government for six years.
He was also the chairperson of the Digha-Shankarpur Development Council and President of TMC's district unit. He was removed from the post earlier this year.
The Adhikaris have influence over 30 polling seats that are now expected to go to the BJP.
Constituency: Suvendu defected to BJP last December
Notably, Suvendu Adhikari is a former TMC leader who defected to the BJP last December.
He had spearheaded the anti-land acquisition agitation at Nandigram in 2007.
The movement had catapulted Banerjee to the forefront of Bengal politics, and in 2011, she came to power.
He has been fielded by the BJP from the Nandigram constituency against Banerjee.
Election: When will elections be held in West Bengal?
The West Bengal elections will be held in eight phases: March 27 (to be held in 30 constituencies), April 1 (30), April 6 (31), April 10 (44), April 17 (45), April 22 (43), April 26 (36), and April 29 (35).
Elections will be held across 1,01,916 polling stations.
The term of the Assembly ends May 30, 2021. Votes will be counted on May 2.