Once second-in-command and Trinamool Congress’ all-India general secretary Mukul Roy was at the helm of affairs at the iftar party at Nizam Palace Sunday where the leader said he was an “invitee” and not the host.
Jointly organised by the Central Public Works Department Employees’ Federation and Bangiyo Sakhyalaghu Buddhijibi Mancha, the iftar (breaking of fast) was attended by hundreds of members from the minority community from across the state, and, to an extent, even across the party lines.
On the occasion, Roy, who went around sporting a kurta pajama and posing for photographs wearing a skullcap, speculations of him floating a new party grew stronger.
But the leader was in no mood to discuss “anything political”.
“This is not the right time or the place. It is a spiritual event and I don’t want to say anything political from here. Let the time come, I will announce what I have to.”
Asked if senior TMC leaders were invited, Roy said: “I have no idea. I am only an invitee.”
TMC MLAs Seuli Saha and Shilbhadra Dutta, considered close to Roy, were, however, present. “It is an auspicious event and I have come because I was invited. There is no politics in it,” Saha clarified.
Also present was senior Congress leader Samrat Topadar.
Incidentally, Pradeep Ghosh, who had recently defected from the Congress to join BJP, too attended the event. “I have come here for the iftar party. I don’t want to comment on anything,” he said.
Senior BJP leaders, however, said they did not have “any idea” about Ghosh’s presence there or him sharing camera space with Roy. “I don’t know but if he went there, then he must have in his own capacity. I will have to speak to the state BJP leadership to find out why he was there before I can make a comment,” said BJP national secretary and Bengal observer Siddharth Nath Singh.
But sources close to Roy said the gues list was approved by Roy himself. So, naturally, the absence of his son, Subhrangshu Roy, was going to raise a few eyebrows. On this, sources quoted Roy as saying: “He (Subhrangshu) is there with me. There is no place for his father in the (TMC) party and he, too, would soon lose importance there”.
Significantly, among the invitees who did not turn up were expelled CPM leader Abdur Rezzak Mollah and prominent Muslim leader Siddiqullah Chowdhury.
On the other hand, one of the imams of Nakhoda Masjid Noor Alam attended the iftar and even led the namaz prayer. Interestingly, Nakhoda Masjid’s another iman, Shafique Qasmi, is known for his proximity with the TMC and has been seen several times sharing the stage with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.