BJP VP Mukul Roy returns to TMC after meeting Mamata
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) National Vice President Mukul Roy on Friday jumped ship, joining the rival Trinamool Congress (TMC) along with his son Subhranshu Roy. Shortly before the announcement, Roy had met TMC supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Roy had notably quit the TMC, a party he had helped co-found, to join the BJP back in 2017.
Roy joined TMC in Mamata's presence
Ending weeks of speculation, Roy joined the TMC in the presence of Banerjee and her nephew. He was felicitated by Abhishek Banerjee. The TMC said that this is only the beginning, hinting that more TMC-turned-BJP leaders will be brought back. Earlier, multiple reports had stated that Roy's "homecoming" was likely as the leader had ostensibly distanced himself from the BJP.
Under present circumstances, no one will stay with BJP: Roy
I have joined TMC today. In the present circumstances, no one will stay in Bharatiya Janata Party: Mukul Roy on joining TMC pic.twitter.com/w1hE25LXjV— ANI (@ANI) June 11, 2021
'Those who betrayed TMC before elections not welcome,' says CM
Welcoming Roy, Banerjee said, "He will play an important role in the party." Further, she said that those who betrayed the party before the elections and joined the BJP, will not be asked to re-join the TMC.
Rumors were rife that Roy will join TMC
Rumors of Roy and his son's return to the BJP have been rife since Roy skipped a BJP meeting on May 8. Meanwhile, he was exchanging pleasantries with TMC West Bengal chief Subrata Bakshi. He later tweeted to express his loyalty to the BJP. On June 2, TMC MP and CM Banerjee's nephew, Abhishek Banerjee, met Roy's wife—ailing from COVID-19—in the hospital.
Subhranshu had not denied possibility of joining TMC
BJP West Bengal chief Dilip Ghosh then also visited Roy's wife in the hospital. Thereafter, Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself called up Roy. Asked whether he would join the TMC, Subhranshu said he would think about it after his mother gets discharged.
Roy had quit TMC over differences with party's top brass
Roy had quit the TMC in 2017 over alleged differences with the top leadership of the party. One of the key differences was over Abhishek Banerjee, whom Roy had accused of corruption. Roy joined the BJP in November 2017, and in September 2020, he was elevated to the saffron party's National Vice President. The promotion had come ahead of the 2021 West Bengal polls.
Not just Roy; others express remorse after joining BJP
Notably, several other BJP turncoats are now expressing regret and are likely to return to the TMC. This is in sharp contrast to the events of the past few months, when the TMC witnessed a string of desertions. The party won the 2021 elections regardless. However, CM Banerjee lost from Nandigram to former aide Suvendu Adhikari, who joined the BJP last December.
Rajib Banerjee, Sonali Guha, others remorseful
Ex-TMC Minister Rajib Banerjee is among the TMC-turned-BJP leaders who expressed remorse. Former Satgachia MLA Sonali Guha has appealed to Banerjee to "take her back." Ex-MLA of Basirhat Dakshin, Dipendu Biswas, decided to leave the BJP after the CBI's arrest of TMC leaders in the 2014 Narada sting case. Sovan Chatterjee also quit the BJP after being denied a ticket in the recent polls.
TMC 'busy handling COVID-19, cyclone aftermath'
The TMC, however, has said that admitting these leaders is not a priority as it is busy dealing with the aftermath of COVID-19 and Cyclone Yaas. The Indian Express quoted BJP spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya as saying, "People of Bengal are seeing everything. They (the leaders) came to the BJP crying and now want to return to the TMC laughing."