West Bengal Assembly Elections 2021: Once a close confidant of Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee, Suvendu Adhikari may join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) camp during Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit to West Bengal this week, according to a Hindustan Times report. Also Read - From West to East: Maharashtra’s Ruling Shiv Sena to Contest West Bengal Polls This Year

“It has been decided so far that neither Shah nor party president J P Nadda will hand over the party flag to Adhikari in public to induct him into the BJP. This formality will be done by either Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh or some senior national leader,” a senior state BJP leader told HT on Tuesday afternoon. Also Read - Doubling Farmers Income Biggest Priority of Modi Govt: Amit Shah

Earlier, reports had suggested that the BJP central leadership is in touch with disgruntled TMC mass leader, who had resigned from the Mamata Banerjee cabinet, but nothing has been decided as of now regarding his joining the saffron party. Also Read - Tripura Congress Chief's Car Attacked Allegedly by BJP Workers, Party Calls For Strike

Adhikari, they said, is in good terms with some of the saffron camp leaders but talks regarding his conditions for joining the party are yet to begin.

“We are in touch with Suvendu Adhikari. We share good terms with him but nothing has been decided as of now reagrding his joining us. We have to wait for few more days to have a clear picture,” the leader said earlier on condition of anonymity.

Although Adhikari has resigned from the Mamata Banerjee cabinet in which he was the minister in charge of transport, waterways and irrigation, he has not resigned from TMC or as MLA.

“After resigning as minister it will be tough for Adhikari to continue in TMC. So the options before him are floating a new party or joining BJP or Congress,” the BJP leader said. “It takes a lot of money and human resource to float a new political outfit, which we don’t think is possible at this juncture,” he said.

Amit Shah will be in Bengal on December 19 and 20, where the Home Minister will address rallies in at least three districts, including East Midnapore where Adhikari, his father and two brothers represent two Lok Sabha constituencies and an assembly seat. Adhikari is elected from the Nandigram seat.

Apart from his home district of East Midnapore, Adhikari has influence over at least 40-45 assembly segments in tribal Jangalmahal area comprising the districts of West Midnapore, Bankura, Purulia and Jhargram and parts of Birbhum and minority-dominated Murshidabad districts.

This assumes significance as polls in the state, where BJP has made deep inroads, is due in April-May 2021 and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will seek to return to power for the third consecutive term.

(With Agency Inputs)