The Trinamool Congress government in West Bengal suffered another blow on Friday with Forest Minister Rajib Banerjee becoming the latest to quit the Mamata Banerjee cabinet. Banerjee had been skipping cabinet meetings for a long time and had expressed his dissent over the functioning of the party. Earlier Transport Minister Suvendu Adhikari and former cricketer and Minister of State for Sports Laxmiratan Shukla had resigned from the government and party posts.
In his resignation, marked to the chief minister and Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, Banerjee wrote: “I regret to inform you that I hereby tender my resignation from my office as cabinet minister being in charge of Forest Department on today, ie on January 22, 2021.” Remembering how it has been a “great honour and privilege to serve the people of West Bengal”, he added: “I heartily convey my gratitude for getting this opportunity. I have sent a copy of this to His Excellency, Governor of West Bengal for his necessary action. Kindly accept my resignation and obliged.”
Shortly after resigning from the cabinet, Banerjee said he quit the state forest minister’s post as he was “deeply hurt” by the personal attacks on him for airing grievances against a section of party leaders. He, however, declined to comment when asked if he plans to quit the party in the coming days. “I had grievances against some of the party’s senior members and informed the leadership about it. I also had a word with party supremo, but nothing happened. Instead, I was personally attacked by a section of the leaders. I was deeply hurt by the personal attacks aimed at me. Hence, I resigned from the cabinet,” PTI quoted him as saying after meeting Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar at Raj Bhavan.
On January 16, amid speculation that he may leave the TMC ahead of the Assembly polls, Banerjee continued his attack on the TMC, saying some people in the party were obstructing his “mission” to work for the welfare of people and grassroots workers. In a Facebook Live, Banerjee said, “I wanted to do some good work for the people but failed because of some persons in the party.” Banerjee said he was patiently waiting for the right time to get his grievances, “solely concerning the wellbeing of people”, addressed.