In a significant development in Bengal’s politics, BJP MLA Mukul Roy and his son Subhrangshu Roy are likely to meet Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at Trinamool Bhawan on Friday afternoon.
“I am going to TMC Bhawan,” said Roy on Friday amid speculations over turncoats returning to TMC are ripe.
The development came days after TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee said that they have discussed the ‘ghar wapsi’ of TMC leaders who quit the party and joined BJP before elections and the final call regarding this will be taken by Mamata Banerjee.
On Thursday, in a media statement another party MP Saugata Roy felt that turncoats should be divided in two groups including ‘soft-liners’ and ‘hard-liners’. “Suvendu Adhikari insulted our party Supremo but Mukul Roy never abused her,” he said.
Reacting to speculations over Mukul Roy joining the TMC camp, BJP State president Dilip Ghosh said, “I don’t want to comment on this matter.”
On June 3, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to BJP national vice president Mukul Roy to enquire about the health of his ailing wife Krishna who is undergoing treatment for Covid-19 at a private hospital in Kolkata.
Abhishek Banerjee also paid a visit to his wife at the hospital, while West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh also went there a few hours later.
On September 26, 2020, Mukul Roy became the Vice President of the BJP.
With Mukul’s deep penetration in the ruling camp (because he was the founding member of the TMC), BJP wanted to utilise his ‘long association’ with Mamata Banerjee.
Soon after the announcement BJP’s reshuffled national office-bearers, Sinha, in a video message (both in Hindi and Bangla), said, “For 40 years I have served the BJP as a soldier. I have to step aside because a Trinamool Congress leader is coming – there can be nothing more unfortunate than this reward for serving the BJP since birth. I don’t want to comment much on this matter. I don’t want to judge (whether it is wrong or right). In the coming 10-12 days, I will decide my future course of action.”
For several months, Mukul was struggling in the state BJP to make his space due to differences with the old guards.
Mukul’s differences with some big BJP leaders in Bengal, including Rahul Sinha and Dilip Ghosh, are an open secret.
Mukul Roy who claimed himself as the ‘Garry Sobers’ of Indian politics had (once) told News18, “Today, once again I am saying that whenever, Cricket will exist in this world, people will always remember Garry Sobers. Similarly, jab tak politics rahega, humko koi ignore nahi kar sakega (no one can ignore me in politics).”
On September 25, 2017, in a major setback for the TMC, Roy resigned from the party’s working committee.
Then, addressing a press conference at Nizam Palace in Kolkata, Mukul had announced his resignation from the party’s primary membership and as a Rajya Sabha member.
Roy’s move had come days after Mamata Banerjee in a core committee meeting warned party leaders against hobnobbing with BJP people in Delhi. She had said those who wanted to join other parties were free to go but no anti-party activities would be tolerated.
On August 30, 2017, Roy was removed from the chairman’s post of the standing committee on transport, tourism and culture in the Rajya Sabha for his alleged proximity to BJP leaders in Delhi.
Since Roy was questioned by the Central Bureau of Investigation in connection with the Saradha Ponzi scheme in 2015, his relationship with Mamata had turned bitter as he had reportedly assured full cooperation to the probe agency.
When the TMC was formed in 1997, Roy was among the first leaders to join the party. He was the non-executive director of the United Bank of India (UBI) from 2002 to 2005.
In April 2006, he became a member of Rajya Sabha from West Bengal and was later appointed a member of the committee on urban development in August 2006. The same year, he became a member of the consultative committee in the ministry of home affairs.
In April 2008, Mamata made him the party’s all-India general secretary and the next year he became minister of state in the shipping ministry.
For Mamata, he was the most trusted party worker and had actively worked for her in protesting against the land acquisition by Bengal’s the-then Left Front government at Singur and Nandigram.