In a late night meeting on Friday, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee restructured the Trinamool Congress working committee and removed the post of the party vice-president. The move comes as a blow to Mukul Roy, who was till now the party national vice-president. Now, he simply remains a member of the party working committee.
Confirming the move, Trinamool spokesperson Partha Chatterjee said: “As members of the working committee, we authorised her (Mamata Banerjee) to restructure the committee. And as a part of this restructuring, she has removed the post of the vice-president. So yes, Mukul Roy is no longer the vice-president but is still a member of the working committee. It isn’t him alone, other vice-presidents too do not hold the post anymore.”
“Besides, it was felt that there are far more important posts and works — such as handling states which are to go to polls. Roy is the observer for Punjab,” he added. However, the move is being seen as a whittling down of Roy’s position in the party. Roy was earlier removed as Tripura Trinamool in charge, a state where the party was steadily making inroads till members switched over to the BJP earlier this year. In Punjab, Trinamool doesn’t have much presence. In the Vidhan Sabha polls earlier this year, it contested 20 seats, and most of its candidates fared badly, losing their security deposits.
Earlier this month, Roy was removed by the party from the parliamentary consultative committee of the Home Ministry and replaced Rajya Sabha MP Manish Gupta. He was nominated to the Rajya Sabha in March. Roy was also removed from the chairmanship of the parliamentary standing committee on transport, tourism and culture and replaced with Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brien. Once considered Mamata’s most trusted right-hand man, Roy was removed from the post of the party general secretary in 2015 when his name had cropped up in the Sarada chit fund scam.
Ahead of the 2016 state elections, Trinamool insiders had claimed that Roy was behind the floating of a new party — Nationalist Trinamool Congress (NTC). Roy, however, had consistently denied this. He was later made the Trinamool vice-president days before the party launched its Assembly poll campaign. It was only Roy, who joined two other Trinamoool leaders — Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her nephew and MP Abhishek Banerjee — on campaign trail across the state. Last month, NTC president Amitava Majumdar had said that the party has been revived ahead of the panchayat elections next year, but denied any connection to Roy.
But NTC’s revival aside, speculations are abound in political circles of Roy joining the BJP — which has been denied by both.