Kolkata: Nearly a month after the Trinamool Congress registered a massive victory in West Bengal Assembly polls, BJP national vice president Mukul Roy, along with his son Subhranshu Roy, returned to Mamata Banerjee-led party on Friday, ending four years of alliance with the saffron party.
Roy, once the former second-in-command of the TMC, is believed to be one of the chief architects of BJP’s slow but steady growth in West Bengal after he joined the party in 2017.
Despite a spirited campaign, the BJP could win only 77 seats in the 294-seat Bengal assembly. Following the assembly election results, several fissures had emerged in the Bengal BJP, and the saffron party saw several desertions, mostly to the Trinamool.
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 remain in BJP. It feels good to see all known faces again, having come out of BJP, he added.
Roy, who joined the saffron party in November 2017, has been distancing himself from the BJP for the last several days.
Roy, once a close aide of West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, did not attend June 8 meeting to discuss the post-election strategy called by the state BJP leadership.
BJP’s Bengal unit had held a high-powered organisational meeting on Tuesday where party leaders were required to be physically present.
The absence of two other BJP heavyweights Shamik Bhattacharya and Rajib Banerjee at the meeting had sparked a buzz in the state politics after the fierce battle between the BJP and the TMC in the recent assembly election.
This comes at a time when several turncoat politicians, who switched from the TMC to BJP ahead of assembly polls, have expressed regret over their decision to quit the Mamata Banerjee-led party.
Before rising to prominence in the BJP, Mukul Roy was a founder-member of the TMC which he quit in 2017. Rajib Banerjee left the TMC in January this year and contested the West Bengal assembly polls on a BJP ticket.
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.
Mukul Roy political career started as a Youth Congress leader, around the same time as Mamata Banerjee was part of the outfit. He was among the founding members of the All India Trinamool Congress when Mamata floated it in January 1998 after breaking off from the Congress. Soon, Roy emerged as the party’s face in Delhi, and in 2006, was made its general secretary and earned a seat in the Rajya Sabha.
In the UPA II government, he served initially as Minister of State, Shipping, before taking over as Railways Minister — a portfolio Mamata held till she moved to Bengal as the CM.
However, his alliance with Mamata ended in 2015 after his name came up in the Saradha scam as well as the Narada sting operation in which several Trinamool leaders, including Roy, were allegedly seen taking bribes on camera. In September 2017, Roy was suspended from the Trinamool for six years and later in November 2017 he formally joined the BJP.