New Delhi | Jagran Politics Desk: Stoking speculations that more Trinamool Congress leaders may switch political camps ahead of next year's assembly polls, four ministers were missing from a cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at the State Secretariat on Tuesday.

This comes days after Suvendu Adhikari joined the BJP at a rally held by Union Home Minister Amit Shah in the state, sparking speculations about rising dissent in the TMC.

Secretary-General of Partha Chatterjee said that three of the missing four ministers offered perfectly valid explanations while the fourth one - Rajib Banerjee - remained incommunicado. 

Banerjee's absence from the meet seemed politcally significant as there are speculations about him quitting the TMC with the minister alleging "favouritism" in the party at few instances.

Senior leaders of the party had met Banerjee few weeks ago in the TMC leadership's bid to placate him after he alleged that "yes men" were rising to prominence and that this was a matter of great personal disappointment.

Adhikari too stayed away from Cabinet meetings for several months before ultimately quitting the TMC and moving to the BJP. 

On Tuesday, Adhikari called upon people to dislodge the "corrupt" TMC government in West Bengal and said that "opportunist" members of the ruling party had, in the past, solicited help from the BJP and the Congress for survival, only to ditch them later.

Adhikari, while addressing his first public meeting here in East Burdwan after joining the saffron party last Saturday, also labelled the TMC as a "private company", which does not believe in upholding democratic principles. He underscored that the TMC would not have lasted beyond 2001, had it not taken help from the BJP after coming into existence in 1998.

Making light of his assertion, TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said that the former state minister might have forgotten he was a member of the Mamata Banerjee-led party until recently.

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta