Kolkata | Jagran Politics Desk: Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) suffered another setback with the beginning of the new year after Suvendu Adhikari's younger brother Soumendu joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) along with 15 councillors of Contai Municipality on Friday. Soumendu's decision to switch sides will boost the saffron camp ahead of the much-awaited Assembly Elections in West Bengal this year.

Following Soumendu's decision to join the BJP, the TMC issued a statement and said that the party will not stop anyone from leaving it. "Anybody is welcome to leave. I don't think there'll be any reflection in our party for the defection of Soumendu. TMC workers are becoming more and more devoted to the party," party leader Madan Mitra was quoted by news agency ANI as saying.

Meanwhile, Soumendu said that his family had been enduring many unsavoury attacks but they "believe in giving a befitting reply on the battlefield".

Suvendu, on the other hand, said that Soumendu's removal from the civic board was "vindictive and political" and termed the appointment of the town Trinamool Congress president and a resident of Ramnagar, who is not from Contai, as administrator as an illegal decision of the government.

"Soumendu has a long political career ahead of him. He had been involved in student politics and reached the post of the chairman of Contai Municipality and administrator through hard work. Like him, the other 14 councillors have long working experience as vice-chairman and in many other capacities," he was quoted by news agency PTI as saying.

"The Adhikari family is not with the party of Pisi and Bhaipo (TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee and nephew Abhishek Banerjee) any more," he added.

Political heavyweight Suvendu, along with Sunil Mondal and several other TMC leaders, had joined the BJP last year, giving a setback to Mamata Banerjee ahead of West Bengal Assembly Elections 2021.

While joining the BJP in presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Suvendu had said that he was "humiliated" by the TMC which is intentionally delaying the municipal polls in the state. He further said that PM Modi is showing the way to the nation, adding that he will "fulfil all the wishes of Bengal and its people".

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma