The ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal was hit by a fresh round of dissent, as Forest Minister Rajib Banerjee resigned from the cabinet and aggrieved legislator Baishali Dalmiya was expelled from the party on Friday. Both the ministers appeared to be set on joining BJP, adding to the list of discontented members who have deserted TMC and have joined BJP like, Transport Minister, Suvendu Adhikari and Minister of State for Sports, Laxmi Ratan Shukla had earlier resigned from their posts in the state government as well as the party.

It has been a while since Rajib Banerjee had been skipping meetings of the Mamata Banerjee cabinet, and had expressed dissatisfaction over the functioning of the party. Banerjee told reporters that he was forced to quit after being publicly humiliated by a section of the party leaders for airing his grievances over their style of functioning.

Disgruntled TMC MLA, Baishali Dalmiya, who has been lashing out at the leadership for quite some time, said, “Honest and sincere people have no place in the party”. Within a few hours of this statement being made, Dalmiya was expelled from the party. Justifying their actions, TMC made a statement saying, “Indiscipline won’t be tolerated and stern action would be taken against those leaders who are trying to harass the party publically”.

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Rajib Banerjee, after quitting the government, broke down on camera, saying, “I never thought a day would come when I would have to take such a difficult step”. Banerjee also said that he wanted to quit the cabinet around two-and-a-half years ago when he was removed as irrigation minister without being informed in advance, but later backtracked after he was pacified by the Chief Minister.

In this heated run-up to the Bengal election due by May, many leaders and workers have left Trinamool Congress for BJP. BJP is also trying its hardest to win this election after challenging to oust Mamata Banerjee’s government, by investing considerable time and energy into this election. BJP President, JP Nadda and Amit Shah have been regularly visiting the state and Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, will also be in Kolkata, to mark the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.

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