The ghar wapsi, or homecoming, of Mukul Roy is part of Trinamool's strategy to strike while the iron is hot. The objective - to demolish the BJP in Bengal, where it still has 18 Lok Sabha MPs, ahead of the 2024 national election, which is just two-and-a-half years away. To accomplish this objective, and chart out its future course, the Trinamool is eager to capitalise on the anti-BJP sentiment in the state at this moment. The operation for the 'return of the prodigals', as it were, was top secret. Both Trinamool and those being courted have been tight lipped. It wasn't just the senior Roy who has returned to the Trinamool fold; his son, Subhranshu Roy - a former Trinamool MLA who joined the BJP, contested the election and lost - also returned.
The Trinamool is also encouraging the return of others, including former minister Rajib Banerjee and former MLAs Prabir Ghoshal of Uttarpara and Sarala Murmu of Malda, despite all three losing their individual electoral races.
Some sitting BJP MLAs are also likely to find their way back to the mothership.
Sources say the party wants to break off as big a chunk of the BJP as it possibly can – perhaps even bigger than the piece the BJP broke before the election.
The Trinamool had actively wooed Mukul Roy.
Mamata Banerjee signalled it even in the run-up to the Assembly election at a public rally, where she said: “Mukul Roy is not as bad as Suvendu Adhikari”.
Adhikari, of course, is the newest high-profile ex-Trinamool recruit to the BJP; an ex-Mamata Banerjee aide in whom the opposition invested heavily in hopes of a spectacular election win.
Unfortunately for the BJP, his personal win over Banerjee from Nandigram was the only bright spot in an otherwise disastrous outing.
Last week Abhishek Banerjee – Banerjee’s nephew and the new General Secretary of the Trinamool – visited the hospital where Roy’s wife is being treated for COVID-19.
Roy, who was Trinamool General Secretary when he quit to join the BJP – and Banerjee didn’t quite see eye-to-eye in the past, and his visit was a headline-maker.
Banerjee also met Roy’s son, Subhranshu, while at the hospital. After that meeting, Subhranshu Roy waxed eloquent about Abhishek Banerjee’s gesture.
Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh also visited the hospital – after Abhishek Banerjee’s visit and after reports top BJP leaders subsequently phoned Mukul Roy to enquire after his wife – but that, it seems, was too little too late.
In a big blow to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in West Bengal, its all-India Vice President and MLA Mukul Roy joined the Trinamool Congress on Friday along with his son Subhrangshu Roy, almost four years after deserting the Trinamool camp for the saffron brigade.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who was present at the Trinamool Bhavan during the meeting to induct Roy back into the party fold, said that more people will come out of the BJP and join the Trinamool Congress.
Roy and his son were greeted back into the Trinamool by its all-India General Secretary, Abhishek Banerjee.
“Mukul (Roy) is our old member and he has come back. He was not in a good condition in the BJP because the saffron party created pressure on him through agencies, as a result he was not in mental peace. I was watching that his health condition had also deteriorated because one cannot stay in the BJP. It is a heartless party and no human being can stay there,” Mamata Banerjee said.
Roy, who had left Trinamool Congress in 2017, said, “I am having a nice feeling for being among familiar people again. This has a kind of homely atmosphere. I am confident that West Bengal will again reach to the top under the leadership of our leader and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.”
When asked what made him return to the Trinamool, the former all-India General Secretary of the party said, “I shall not work for the BJP again, so I have come back here.”
Denying having any difference with Roy even when he was in the BJP, Mamata Banerjee said, “Even when he was in the BJP, he never said anything against me or the party. He has always been good with our party leaders. Even during the elections, he was quiet about our party.”
Hinting that more people from the BJP are likely to join the Trinamool, the Chief Minister said, “Trinamool will welcome everybody who is sober and gentle. But there are some people who betrayed the party before the elections and badmouthed the Trinamool leaders. They are betrayers, and the party will never accept them.”
Earlier in the day there was much speculation that Roy and his son Subhrangshu Roy might be returning to the Trinamool Congress.
Roy, who was in his house in Salt Lake had admitted to his close circle that he was going to meet Banerjee on Friday. But when contacted herefused to comment on the meeting.
On the other hand, Banerjee was to conduct a meeting at the Trinamool Congress Bhawan at 3 pm and Roy was likely to meet the chief minister after the meeting.
Sources in the party said that the party was going to take two major decisions in the meeting on Friday. “The party has earlier announced the decision of one-man-one-post theory and this is likely to be officially announced and implemented in the meeting today.
“Apart from that there are many people who left the party before the election but want to return. Our leader Mamata Banerjee is likely to take a decision regarding this,” a senior party member said.
That Trinamool Congress’ attitude towards Roy has changed and it was evident when Mamata Banerjee in her election campaign termed Roy as ‘Bhalo Chele’ (Good Boy) and it was followed by Abhishek Banerjee’s visit to the hospital to see Roy’s wife.
Though Roy was not present during his visit, Abhishek met his son Subhrangshu Roy and both of them had a discussion of more than half-an-hour. Subhrangshu was all praise for Abhishek after the meeting.
Just after Abhishek’s visit, state BJP President rushed to the hospital to see Roy’s wife and the next day Prime Minister Narendra Modi called up Roy to enquire about his wife’s health. Though Roy ignored the speculation and announced that he was a BJP worker and will continue to work for the party but his skipping of several BJP meetings, including the first state legislative committee meeting and the BJP state committee meeting only supported the speculation. (IANS)