Kolkata, Nov 26 : Amid speculations of possible defection, West Bengal irrigation and transport minister Suvendu Adhikari was removed from the post of Hooghly River Bridge Commissioners (HRBC) chairman on Thursday.
The state transport department on Thursday issued a circular saying that Adhikari was replaced by Trinamool Congress MP from Sreerampore in Kolkata's adjoining Hooghly district Kalyan Banerjee.
The state government circular read: "In exercise of the power conferred by Sub-Section (3) of Section 3 of The Hooghly River Bridge Act, 1969 (West Bengal Act of XXXVI-1969), the Governor is pleased to appoint Shri Kalyan Banerjee, Honourable MP, as the chairman of the HRBC with immediate effect and until further orders." Speculation was rife for the past few months over the political stand of the Trinamool heavyweight from East Midnapore and party insiders said that Adhikari had developed distance with the Trinamool supremo. With high-voltage West Bengal elections barely a few months away, he had also taken out a massive rally in East Midnapore's Khejuri under an apolitical banner this week.
Meanwhile, talks between the ruling Trinamool Congress and Adhikari, who has been maintaining a distance from the party, remained inconclusive on Monday. Veteran Trinamool MP Sougata Roy, who has been assigned with the job to hold talks with Adhikari, met the minister on Monday evening at a place in north Kolkata.
The duo held a nearly two-hour-long discussion. This is the second meeting between the two Trinamool leaders in a week.
In 2007, Adhikari had mobilised an anti-land acquisition movement against a proposed chemical hub project by Indonesia-based Salim Growp at Nandigram. The protest was organised under the banner of Bhumi Uchhed Pratirodh Committee (BUPC), which saw spiralling protests and bloodshed between disgruntled villagers and CPI-M cadres and the police.