Updated: September 25, 2017 4:22:09 pm
The Trinamool Congress had said that Mukul Roy would be ‘expelled’ from the party on Monday. Hours before any action was taken, Roy, pre-empting this, announced that after five days, he would “explain everything” and exit the party after Durga Puja.
While the BJP state president Dilip Ghosh confirmed that Roy has been in touch with BJP’s “central leadership”, this will not come as a surprise for Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee: Roy’s ‘proximity’ to members of the BJP is a well-known fact in the party and one senior TMC leader explained that in the past this had been an asset for Banerjee.
That changed with the arrest of Sudip Bandyopadhyay on January 3 by the CBI in connection with the Rose Valley Chit Fund case. During Bandyopadhyay’s 136-day incarceration, Banerjee had instructed him – and other party members – to not “separately seek any deal with the BJP”, instead, to fight BJP’s “political witch-hunt politically”. Roy, also an accused in the chit-fund case, TMC sources maintained, had not done so.
The question now remains as to whether Roy will float his own party or join the BJP. Sources close to Roy maintained that the Trinamool Congress founder is “more keen to join the BJP presently”, while adding, “ultimately, the decision will lie with the BJP”.
This is not the first time though that Roy has left the party. Roy had also been suspended in 2015, with several others close to him, for reasons linked to his deposition in the CBI Sarada scam case. But he was rehabilitated in February 2015 by Banerjee, a move which in turn brought back the dissidents to her party ahead of the assembly polls in Bengal.
During this period, Roy didn’t publicly identify himself with either dissenters or another section that was looking to float a new party. Roy, once considered Banerjee’s right-hand man, is also arguably, second only to Banerjee in terms of his clout with the party’s workers and followers.
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