KOLKATA: In another blow to Mamata Banerjee’s ministry ahead of the Assembly polls, Laxmi Ratan Shukla, the sports minister stepped down from the cabinet and resigned from the post of TMC's Howrah district president. However, he is yet to resign as an MLA.
Shukla’s resignation came within a month after Mamata’s former close aide Suvendu Adhikari stepped down from the cabinet and resigned from the party before he joined the BJP.
The Bengal CM accepted Shukla’s resignation. "He is a nice boy. There is no scope to spread political rumors over this issue. He told me that he wanted to concentrate on sports activities and this is why he stepped down from the cabinet He said he would continue as the MLA," she said.
TMC’s Howrah town chairman Arup Roy said Shukla’s move before the polls would affect the party’s district organisation.
With Shukla's resignation, the political circles of Bengal are busy guessing the former cricketer’s next move. The BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said, "The split in the TMC has already started. They are losing their own people by attacking us."
Reacting to the second blow to Mamata’s cabinet, Left Front leader Sujan Chakraborty said, "The chief minister should understand this time that her colleagues are no longer relying on her."
Meanwhile, Union Minister Babul Supriyo welcomed Shukla's decision and asked if he wants to join the BJP.
It is learnt that Shukla, who had joined the TMC in 2016, had recently withdrawn himself from the party programmes.