Former BJP senior leader Mukul Roy and his son Subhranshu Roy returned to the Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Friday in presence of West Bengal chief minister and party supremo Mamata Banerjee.
Ahead of his return, Roy and his son held a meeting with Mamata and other senior TMC leaders at the party headquarters in Kolkata.
The objective – to demolish the BJP in Bengal, where it sill has 18 Lok Sabha MPs, ahead of the 2024 national election, which is just two-and-a-half years away.
To accomplish this objective, and chart out its future course, the Trinamool is eager to capitalise on the anti-BJP sentiment in the state at this moment.
The operation for the ‘return of the prodigals’, as it were, was top secret. Both Trinamool and those being courted have been tight -lipped.
Welcoming Mukul back to the TMC, party supremo Mamata said Roy had said nothing against Trinamool, despite campaigning for the BJP. He was cajoled into joining BJP with threats of action by Central agencies. These had an adverse effect on Roy’s health, Mamata said.
She added that the party’s doors are not open to those who deserted the party before elections for lure of money, or had criticized the party.
Soon after formally returning to Trinamool, Mukul Roy said that the present situation is such that nobody will want to remain in BJP. It feels good to see all known faces again, having come out of BJP, he added.
Roy — once a close aide of Mamata Banerjee — was the party’s first big leader to jump ship in 2017. Over the following years, he was instrumental in persuading a bunch of Trinamool MLAs and leaders to shift loyalty.
Roy also spearheaded the Bharatiya Janata Party’s electoral campaign in West Bengal earlier this year and led the charge against his former party, even winning Krishnanagar North assembly seat in Nadia district, thus securing a victory in his first attempt.
Speculation about Mukul Roy’s return started when Abhishek Banerjee, the nephew of Mamata Banerjee and the party’s newly appointed general secretary, visited Roy at the hospital in Kolkata where his wife is admitted. This, in turn, prompted a similar visit by BJP West Bengal chief Dilip Ghosh soon after, followed by a phone call by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday to Roy, who has been in home isolation since the middle of May after testing positive.
BJP lost the polls but emerged as the second-largest party with 77 seats in the 294-member state assembly. Trinamool Congress registered a landslide victory winning 213 seats.