A day after Mukul Roy, former Trinamool Congress leader and once the number two in the party, joined the BJP, he is likely to be one of the key speakers at a mega party rally to be held in Kolkata on November 10. The BJP is, however, yet to decide on a post and an office for Roy, who is likely to return to Kolkata from New Delhi on November 6.
BJP general secretary Sayantan Basu on Saturday said that Roy’s post in the party will be decided by the high command. He added, “This (Roy joining the BJP) may be called as just the start of disintegration of Trinamool Congress. More leaders will follow suit soon.” Echoing Basu, state BJP president Dilip Ghosh said, “Mukul Roy is just the beginning. Others, too, are in line to join us.”
Sources, however, said that there are mixed reactions among the party workers on Roy’s induction. While some have reservations in accepting Roy because of his alleged links with Saradha chit fund scam and Narada sting case, others are keen to see how Roy, known for his organisation skills, helps the BJP to combat Trinamool at the grassroots level.
A senior state BJP leader said the November 10 rally will be used by the party to highlight Roy’s entry in BJP. “We will definitely highlight him. His political experience will help us fight Trinamool Congress,” he added.
A confidante of Roy said he will reach Kolkata on November 6. “We will head for the BJP headquarters, where leaders and people who want to speak to him will be present,” he added.
With panchayat polls scheduled next year and Lok Sabha elections in 2019, the BJP state unit is looking at Roy to boost the party’s prospects. Though the BJP was able to get a good vote share in most state elections after the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, it could not manage to win satisfactory number of seats.
The Trinamool on Saturday reiterated that Roy’s induction into the BJP would have no impact in Bengal. “People of Bengal trust Mamata Banerjee. That is why Trinamool Congress has been brought to power in the state. That’s why Trinamool Congress is still in power in Bengal. No one else, no other leader matters. He has chosen to join hands with communal forces. There will be no effect,” said Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim.
Meanwhile, on CPM MP Mohammed Salim’s remarks on Friday that Roy’s name has been associated with Narada sting case and Saradha chit fund scams, Roy on Saturday said: “He himself has police complaints against him. A number of political leaders have complaints against them. That does not mean they are guilty.”
In reply, Salim said, “He should first come clean on his alleged involvement in Narada and Saradha scams. Under Mamata Banerjee, he used work like a political tout.”