In Bengal pre-poll drama, Trinamool MLA returns day after quitting party

Tiwari mellowed down his stance after meeting TMC leader Arup Biswas and poll strategist Prashant Kishor

Jitendra Tiwari
Tiwari said he’s with the Trinamool Congress and he will apologise to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee | File Photo: Twitter

The pre-election drama in West Bengal took an interesting turn on Friday, right ahead of Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit to the state, with disgruntled Trinamool Congess MLA Jitendra Tiwari making an U-turn on his exit from the party within 24 hours.

The Pandabeswar MLA, who had quit the party on Thursday following in the footsteps of heavyweight leader Suvendu Adhikari, reportedly said he had committed a mistake and also urged the party’s leadership to not accept his resignation.

Tiwari, who had also resigned as the Asansol Municipal Corporation chief on Thursday, mellowed down his stance after meeting senior TMC leader Arup Biswas and election strategist Prashant Kishor at Suruchi Sangha club in south Kolkata, reports suggest.

Following the meeting, Tiwari said he’s with the Trinamool Congress and he will apologise to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, according to news agency ANI. Reports suggest he has accepted it was his mistake and that there were some misunderstandings.

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Tiwari’s resignation was among the several other exits from the ruling party following former state minister Suvendu Adhikari’s rebellion. It is being speculated that Adhikari and many non-BJP leaders will join the BJP during Union minister Amit Shah’s ongoing visit to the state.

However, with speculations that Tiwari may also jump to the BJP, Union minister Babul Supriyo had said he wasn’t welcome in the saffron camp.

Taking to Facebook, Supriyo said he would try his best to ensure that the TMC leaders, who had in the past “tortured” grassroots BJP activists, do not get to join his party.

“What my Top Bosses decide is a different thing, but I will try my very best with all my might & honesty to ensure that NO #TMC leader who tormented, tortured (both Physically & Mentally) my grass root level BJP colleagues in Asansol, don’t get an entry in BJP !! (sic),” he said.

Supriyo also dismissed rumours that he had “under-the-table dealings with TMC leaders of Asansol.”

Reports suggested that BJP state president Dilip Ghosh has also come out in support of Supriyo.

Tiwari, on his part, said he has never expressed any desire to join the BJP. “I had never said I would join the party (BJP). I want to meet TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee and party leader Abhishek Banerjee. Let’s see what happens,” he said.

Tiwari had resigned as the chairman of the Asansol Municipal Corporation’s board of administrators and Paschim Bardhaman district chief on Thursday, days after he accused the West Bengal government of depriving the industrial town of central funds.

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Sources had said he was supposed to meet Banerjee on Friday and talk about his grievances. Shortly after resigning from the party, however, Tiwari had said he wouldn’t meet Banerjee.

Hinting that a rebellion was brewing in the ruling party ahead of the assembly polls, Adhikari had on Wednesday night held a closed-door meeting with its disgruntled leaders, including Jitendra Tiwari and senior MP Sunil Mandal, in Paschim Bardhaman district.

Elections to the 294-member West Bengal assembly are likely to be held in April-May next year.

(With inputs from agencies)