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Saturday, October 16, 2021

‘Good friend Derek O’Brien asked me to join TMC… I responded to a good opportunity’: Babul Supriyo

On Saturday, in a surprise move, Supriyo formally joined the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress, the ruling party in the state.

Written by Liz Mathew | New Delhi |
Updated: September 19, 2021 7:45:19 am
Babul Supriyo with TMC leaders Derek O'Brien and Abhishek Banerjee. (Photo: Twitter/@AITCofficial)

Soon after he was dropped from the Union Council of Ministers during the Cabinet expansion on July 7, Babul Supriyo had announced that he was quitting politics. On Saturday, he joined the Trinamool Congress. He tells LIZ MATHEW over telephone from Kolkata that it was a quick decision, but not something he would regret. Excerpts:

Now you are in TMC after criticising it vehemently for so long. How did it happen?

I have been unhappy and feeling sad — which was shared by my friends and family — that after my hard work and good work, it happened to me (being dropped as a Union MoS). Like many others, I feel I did some good work as MoS. Yes, it (joining TMC) was an unexpected move. I was surprised when my good friend Derek O’Brien (Trinamool Rajya Sabha leader) asked me whether I will join TMC.

I can just say that I responded to a good opportunity — it was important for me.

It (offer to join TMC) was an absolute bolt from the blue. Through Derek — it was a small conversation — I was taken aback to know that both Mamata-didi and Abhishek (Banerjee) had (made) a great opportunity for me to work for my state. I spoke with Abishek and Didi. It (joining TMC) may look like opportunism to others but to me it’s a great opportunity, and I responded to it. I want to be in a team to play, I don’t waste time sitting on the bench.

It’s true that I left politics, but sometimes poetic justice happens. It’s a huge opportunity that came to me and I needed to respond to it. Thanks to both Didi and Abhishek that they felt I could do something for Bengal. I seriously fought with them politically. But there’s a lot of love and warmth I felt in Trinamool when they welcomed me. I am very happy about it.

I know BJP and other parties will throw brickbats, but let them do their political job…

What role will you play in TMC?

I cannot say that; that’s for the party to announce…. It will be clear in a few days.

You are an artist. Do you think you have taken decision impulsively?

No…. Yes, it’s emotional sometimes, but there are decisions (that have to be) taken in an instant. You make decisions in cricket and football about who you want to pass the ball to next. That does not mean it’s an impulsive decision. So whatever decision I took, whatever I have said and written about in the last two or three months, it has all came from my heart. It is the same whole-hearted approach I have taken to fulfill responsibilities entrusted to me.

Do you feel let down by the party you made political debut with?

I will not comment on BJP. Whatever happened to me was for everyone to see. I am thankful to BJP for the opportunity it gave me, and I am very proud of the work I have done with BJP. But I felt there was a bottleneck somewhere, so I jumped when I got an opportunity.

Do you hold someone responsible for that bottleneck?

I really don’t want to comment on it. In life, it’s not about what has happened to you; it’s more about how you respond to it. My response may look emotional, but they are not. My decision to quit politics was out of utter disillusion. I am not backing out of anything.

So many leaders are leaving BJP in West Bengal. What do you see as its future in the state? Is there something wrong with the state unit?

I am no one to comment. It’s a huge party. They have their own agenda and leaders. It’s for the party high command to see. I have my reservation on certain things, but those are things of the past now.

Do you think you have been recognised for the work you have done?

See, things were not right (in BJP). Otherwise why would I leave? Why would things go in the direction they are in now? There must have been something wrong from either side.

What will be your area of activity now? In Kolkata or Delhi?

I have the option to settle in both Mumbai or Kolkata. Since my parents passed away, I will now have to settle in Kolkata. But I will keep travelling to Mumbai.

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