This Article is From Feb 12, 2021

Trinamool's Dinesh Trivedi Quits As MP, BJP Says He's Welcome

Dinesh Trivedi was nominated to the Rajya Sabha last year by his party; he was a Lok Sabha MP from Barrackpore but had lost the 2019 parliamentary election.

Dinesh Trivedi said he felt helpless about the political violence in West Bengal.

New Delhi:

One of the Trinamool Congress's most visible faces, Dinesh Trivedi, announced his resignation in parliament today, adding to a series of dramatic exits from Mamata Banerjee's party ahead of the Bengal election due by May. He said the Trinamool was being run by "somebody who doesn't know politics" and no one had time to speak to him.

Without taking names, Dinesh Trivedi appeared to attack poll strategist Prashant Kishor, who was enlisted by Mamata Banerjee to plan her election campaign two years ago.

"When the party goes into  hands of a corporate professional, he is running the party, no one has time to listen. Somebody doesn't now the ABC of politics, he is becoming  my neta (leader). So what can people do in such a situation? The daily fights, the daily  abuse of each other - you can't run a country like this," the 70-year-old told reporters, claiming he felt relieved.

On speculation that he is joining the BJP, Mr Trivedi replied: "I am trying to join myself first".  Notably, he did not rule it out.

Earlier in the Rajya Sabha, Mr Trivedi sprung his surprise while bemoaning the state of affairs in Bengal. "The kind of violence that is happening in Bengal, it is a threat to democracy. I feel very strange sitting here. I think of what I should do. I think of Rabindranath Tagore. Obey party discipline? Of course, but I feel stifled. My soul is saying I sit here and say nothing, what is the point? I resign," he said.

"We are here only for our motherland. I am grateful to my party for sending me here," he added. Shortly afterwards, he handed in his resignation to Rajya Sabha chairman and Vice President Venkaiah Naidu.

His party is stunned but the signs were visible, said sources close to him. Yesterday, he had tweeted praise of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's speech in parliament, at a time his party boss, Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, has been going hammer and tongs against the BJP and its leadership.

His Twitter account briefly vanished after his resignation.

"This is unfortunate. I am saddened. It is not good that he has resigned. I knew he was dissatisfied but I did not know he would quit," said senior Trinamool Congress leader Saugata Roy.

Mr Trivedi was nominated to the Rajya Sabha last year by his party; he was a Lok Sabha MP from Barrackpore but had lost the 2019 parliamentary election and had reportedly felt sidelined in the party since. He was defeated by Arjun Singh, a former Trinamool leader who had joined the BJP.

Another Trinamool MP, Sukhendu Roy, questioned why he was allowed to speak out of turn in the Rajya Sabha and said on his resignation: "'Trinamool' means grassroots. This will give us an opportunity to send a grassroots worker of ours soon to the Rajya Sabha."

Moments after the news emerged, senior BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya told reporters: "Dinesh Trivedi is more than welcome to join BJP. He has taken a year to quit the Trinamool".

The BJP leader said he had met Mr Trivedi a year ago and he had told him "things were not good".

The Trinamool has lost several leaders to the BJP in the intense battle for Bengal.

The trickle turned into a flood when in December, Mamata Banerjee lost her top aide Suvendu Adhikari, who first quit as minister after an extended period of uncertainty, then immediately joined the BJP. Over 40 more leaders and workers followed him out of the Trinamool. Many of the defectors blamed Prashant Kishor, either openly or tacitly.

Mamata Banerjee recently called those who left "traitors" who were bad apples. "A few naughty cows left the party to join BJP such as Mir Jafar (who joined the British during the Battle of Plassey). The sooner they leave the party, the better," she said.