Trinamool Congress leader 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 he felt helpless about the political violence in his state.
“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,” Mr Trivedi said in the Rajya Sabha.
“We are here only for our motherland. I am grateful to my party for sending me here,” he said, adding that he wanted to go back and work for his state. Shortly afterwards, he handed over his resignation to Rajya Sabha chairman and Vice President Venkaiah Naidu.
His announcement stunned his party 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. To PM Modi’s shout-out to the private sector in India’s progress and global standing, Mr Trivedi posted: “I am personally in agreement with this. The way forward is to let our young talented mind innovate, create and distribute wealth. Pay Govt levies, create jobs. For that, our Govt officers (babus) too, need to encourage the youth.” His Twitter account briefly vanished after his resignation.
I am personally in agreement with this. The way forward is to let our young talented mind innovate, create and distribute wealth. Pay Govt levies, create jobs. For that, our Govt officers (babus) too, need to encourage the youth . https://t.co/iyDIP6NR4D
– Dinesh Trivedi (@DinTri) February 10, 2021
“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 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.