STATING THAT he considers the BJP a secular political party, ousted Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Mukul Roy on Saturday asked how the TMC was a part of the Atal Bihar Vajpayee-led NDA government if the saffron party was a communal force. Roy made the remarks after back-to-back meetings with Congress MP Adhir Chowdhury and suspended CPI(M) leader Ritabrata Banerjee over the last couple of days. Banerjee had lunch at Roy’s Delhi residence today, and the two are believed to have spent more than two hours together. Roy had gone to meet Chowdhury at his residence on Friday.
“I do not consider the BJP to be a communal force. It is a secular party. Had it been a communal party, it would not have been recognised by the Election Commission,” Roy said. “When the TMC was formed, it had forged an alliance with the BJP. The alliance was there from 1998 to 2006, except for a few months during the (West Bengal) Assembly election in 2001.” One of the founding members of the TMC, Roy claimed that the party would not have tasted success had it not received the BJP’s backing in initial years.
The former TMC leader, not long ago the number two in the party after Mamata Banerjee, refused to clearly state his next political move but said that there were enough people willing to take on the ruling establishment in next year’s panchayat elections in West Bengal. Roy has already sought an appointment with Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu to resign from the Rajya Sabha.
He had resigned from a Trinamool post last month. The party responded by suspending him for six years. It came less than a year after a patch-up with party supremo Mamata Banerjee.
The two fell out in the wake of Roy’s appearance before the CBI on Saradha but the patch-up was widely believed to have been the CM’s way of ensuring that Roy, who is known for his organisational skills, did not play spoiler in the Assembly elections last year.