KOLKATA: Three BJP functionaries from West Bengal, including senior leader Mukul Roy, have been given berths in the party’s national office bearers on Saturday.
Roy, who was a national executive committee member, has been appointed as the party’s national vice president. Anupam Hazra, who contested from Jadavpur Lok Sabha constituency in 2019, has been inducted as one of the national secretaries. Hazra replaced Rahul Sinha, BJP’s other Bengal functionary.
Darjeeling MP Raju Bista’s name has been announced as the party’s national spokesperson.
Giving Roy and Hazra berths in the national leadership were said to be significant because both of them defected from the TMC and the rejig in the party’s central unit will deliver a message before the 2021 Assembly elections to those who are willing to change their political alignment that the saffron camp does not shun turncoats, said a senior BJP leader in Kolkata.
"I am grateful to our party’s national president JP Nadda for giving me the responsibility. Under the leadership of BJP’s Bengal chapter president Dilip Ghosh, we will fight the next year’s Assembly elections and definitely, the party will perform impressively," said Roy.
Roy’s appointment as the national vice president is said to be a move aiming at next year’s election. Before joining the BJP, Roy, who was the second-in-command in Trinamool Congress, was summoned by the CBI in connection with the Narada sting operation case in which a number of senior TMC leaders were seen accepting the bribe from the representatives of a fictitious company and the probe into the case is still on. Roy, however, had said he was not seen in the footage taking money from anyone.
Roy’s berth in the party’s central team came two months after he had expressed his discontent in front of the BJP’s national leadership over the issue of the party’s Assembly seat-wise projections placed by the state president Dilip Ghosh. A rift among the BJP’s Bengal functionaries surfaced after at least five MPs, who are known as Roy’s followers, met Nadda and expressed their displeasure over the issue of Ghosh’s style of functioning in the party’s regular affairs.
"We expected an exodus from the TMC to our party after the BJP bagged 18 Lok Sabha seats out of 42 in last year’s general elections. Last year in a press conference, Roy showed a list of 107 MLAs and claimed they, mostly from the TMC, were ready to join the BJP. But it didn’t happen. Roy’s appointment in the central team will bring the hope back again and if it happens in reality, that will be a major electoral dividend for our party ahead of the crucial 2021 Assembly elections," said a BJP leader.