A day after the meeting at chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s Kalighat residence, Trinamool Congress silently initiated the process of making party number two and Banerjee’s once man-Friday, redundant.
Sidelining him from the party’s national moves, rewarding his close associates to woo them away from him and treating him as one of the middle-ranking leaders are the TMC’s way of sending across the message to the leader.
Roy, on his part too, is slowly distancing himself. On Sunday, he was conspicuous by his absence at Banerjee’s residence. Instead, he chose to stay at his office at Nizam Palace.
“There is only one line in our party which is decided by Mamata Banerjee. All others are workers and dispensable,” said a senior TMC Lok Sabha MP.
On Saturday, the Trinamool chief asked Jyotipriyo Mullick, state food and supplies minister and president of North 24 parganas, to give Sabyasachi Dutta, the Rajarhat-Newtown MLA close to Roy, the responsibility of an assembly constituency of Bongaon Lok Sabha constituency.
TMC sources said the top leadership expected Roy’s close associates to abandon him after getting due respect from the party.
Derek O’ Brien, chief whip in the Rajya Sabha, has been given the responsibility of leading a delegation to vice-president Hamid Ansari, a job many party leaders thought belonged to Roy.
Party insiders opined that Banerjee giving importance to Suvendu Adhikari, who is known to have differences with Roy, was another way to put pressure on the leader.
Roy, however, has said the first task would be to prove himself innocent in the Saradha scam.
“I am the founder general secretary of the TMC. I am part and parcel of the party,” he said.