Tribune News Service
Kolkata, June 11
In a blow to the saffron brigade, senior BJP leader Mukul Roy along with son Subranshu rejoined the TMC on Friday, with Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and other leaders of the state’s ruling party welcoming him back to the fold.
Roy, who held the position of the national vice president in the saffron party, said he was “happy to see all known faces again”.
Addressing a press meet, Banerjee said Roy was threatened in the BJP, and that, in turn, affected his health.
“Mukul’s return proves that the BJP does not let anyone in peace and puts undue pressure on everyone,” the chief minister said.
Both Banerjee and Roy claimed that they never had any differences.
Asked if her party would be taking back other turncoats, too, Banerjee clarified that the ones who left the TMC to join the BJP just ahead of the April-May assembly elections will not be taken back.
Roy, once the second-in-command of the TMC, was removed from the post of the party’s national general secretary in February 2015.
He had joined the BJP in November, 2017.
Speculation had been rife about Roy’s possible homecoming after Banerjee’s nephew and TMC MP Abhishek recently visited his wife at a city hospital.
BJP could not stop the TMC juggernaut in the eight-phase assembly elections that took place over March and April of this year.
BJP's Bengal MP Swapan Dasgupta called Roy’s possible return to the Trinamool Congress was “of concern”.
"An election setback is of concern. The task of Bengal BJP is to draw the lessons & move ahead. These steps are underway & will become evident.
"There’s no cause for new & old karyakartas to be dispirited & go into a shell. BJP will build on the 2.2 crore votes & enlarge its reach," Dasgupta said without naming Roy.
However, there are concerns in the party which also draw significant strength from politics of perceptions. Sources agree that the development is not exactly how the party leadership would have wanted the Mukul Roy episode to end.
Once a close aide of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Roy, who joined the BJP with much fanfare in 2017.
Lately, he is believed to be upset with the BJP over being denied the leader of opposition post in the Assembly and the increasing clout of Suvendu Adhikari, who defeated Mamata in Nandigram in the recent polls.
Roy, the former second-in-command of the TMC, who joined the saffron party in November 2017, had been distancing himself from the BJP for the last several days.
Reports suggest that some other former TMC leaders who joined the BJP over the last couple of years could follow suit.
— With PTI
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