KOLKATA: The buzz that BJP national vice-president Mukul Roy may return to the Trinamool Congress (TMC) has grown louder since Wednesday’s visit by TMC leader and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's nephew Abhishek Banerjee to the hospital where Mukul's wife is undergoing COVID treatment.
According to sources, Abhishek enquired about her health and wished her a speedy recovery. Though Mukul's wife, Krishna, was admitted to the hospital on May 14, no BJP leader had bothered to pay her a visit. Abhishek's visit, understandably, has set the alarm bells ringing in the saffron camp.
Within two hours of his visit, state BJP president Dilip Ghosh changed his schedule and rushed to the hospital. The following day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself dialed Mukul and enquired about his wife’s health.
Amid all this, some political observers in the state have linked Abhishek's visit with one of the statements Mamata made while campaigning for the election, in which she compared Mukul and Suvendhu Adhikari. "Mukul is facing injustice by them (BJP). He has been fielded in the constituency which is far away from his hometown. What I can say he (Mukul) is much better than him (Suvendu)," she had said.
If one reads that statement and Abhishek’s hospital visit together, the panic in the BJP is understandable. "Abhishek's visit to the hospital was enough to scare the BJP leaders about a possible re-run of the defection episode. And this time, the exodus would be from the saffron camp. If a national vice-president of BJP changes his political allegiance, it will definitely send a wrong message to the electorate and will damage the party’s image nationally," said Bishnupriya Dutta Gupta, a political science professor.
"Though we have differences, his (Abhishek’s) courtesy is exemplary," said Subhrangshu, Mukul's son, who joined the BJP last year.