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Ahead of 2021 Bengal polls, discontentment brews in TMC camp

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Kolkata, Nov 22: With assembly polls just months away, the ruling TMC in Bengal, which was so far busy making preparations to decimate the BJP, is now facing yet another challenge of keeping its house in order, as several members have been voicing their dissent against the leadership.

As state minister Suvendu Adhikari, along with other functionaries, openly air grievances against the Mamata Banerjee-led dispensation, senior leaders are frantically looking for ways to pacify the rebels.

Ahead of 2021 Bengal polls, discontentment brew in TMC camp

Adhikari, who has been maintaining a distance from the top brass over the last few months, commands mass support and is considered only second to Banerjee in the party.

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The TMC leadership, however, has said that the minister is "very much with the party" and there was no crisis, as speculated. The party has initiated backchannel talks with the transport minister, who wields influence over around 45 seats in East Midnapore and the Junglemahal belt, but a section of the leadership is apprehensive about his next move.

According to party sources, Adhikari, who played a crucial role in the Nandigram anti-land acquisition movement, has trusted lieutenants in 18 out of the 23 districts.

"Retaining him is the key to returning to power in 2021. If he leaves the party, it will adversely affect us, both electorally and politically. Many leaders who are either speaking against the party or are not happy might join him," a senior TMC leader said on the condition of anonymity.

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

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