KOLKATA: The BJP, which is still smarting from the poor show in the recently held Assembly election in West Bengal, on Friday received another jolt as its national vice-president Mukul Roy and his son Subhrangshu deserted the saffron party to rejoin the Trinamool Congress. Roy met West Bengal chief minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee and her nephew Abhishek, the party’s national general secretary, at the party’s headquarters Trinamool Bhavan.
“Mukul is an old member of the TMC family and old is gold. The BJP had threatened and tortured him using central agencies. After coming back to the TMC, mental peace has returned to him. No one in Bengal can survive in the BJP. Mukul’s return is a reflection of the BJP’s intra-party oppression,’’ said Mamata.
Roy was TMC’s national secretary and the second-in-command when he switched over to the BJP in 2017 after he was interrogated by the CBI and the ED in connection with the Saradha chit fund scam and the Narada sting operation case.
Roy’s return to the TMC was not entirely unexpected. Mamata’s soft stance on Roy during the election campaign had triggered speculation. While addressing a rally in Nandigram, from where Mamata contested and lost to Suvendu Adhikari, she said Roy was much better than Suvendu. Roy, too, refrained from launching a frontal attack against the TMC.
Endorsing the speculations, Mamata said, “Many others attacked the TMC and showed their cheap mentality, but Mukul was not like them.’’ After he was welcomed back to the TMC fold, Roy said, “I am happy to be in my old place. I could not continue in the BJP, so I decided to join the TMC.”
BJP state president Dilip Ghosh, however, sought to downplay Roy’s departure, saying, “With his presence, we did not get any dividend. What damage will be caused because of his defection?’’ TMC sources told this newspaper Roy’s old rivalry with Mamata’s nephew could dent his position in the party. “He was the second-in-command in the party. But later, he became unhappy with the rise of the CM’s nephew Abhishek. Now Abhishek is much more powerful as the national general secretary, which indicates the party’s line of succession.”