The Trinamool Congress is gearing up to reduce the formidable former No. 2 in the party, Mukul Roy, to a non-entity. Roy may be removed from the posts of chairman of the Trinamool’s parliamentary party and the party’s leader in the Rajya Sabha — two of the last important posts he holds. The move is likely to be ratified by Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee at a crucial party meeting at her residence on Saturday, a party MP close to Mamata said.
If it comes through, the decision will also decisively terminate Roy’s official influence within the party and send an ultimatum to his followers among the party’s MPs and MLAs.
The immediate trigger behind the move is believed to be Roy’s meeting with Union finance minister and senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley on Thursday, apart from his media statements expressing satisfaction at the BJP-led government’s railway budget.
“We won’t be surprised if he loses all the posts he still holds in the party. We are well aware of what he is trying to do and so is the party chief,” a Cabinet minister and a senior party leader said.
Meanwhile, Roy is trying to mend fences with East Midnapore strongman Subhendu Adhikari, one of his well-known detractors. “Removing Subhendu from the charge of Trinamool Youth Congress was a mistake. He is the most competent leader to lead the youth brigade,” Roy said in Delhi. The party’s youth wing is now being led by Abhisekh Banerjee, Mamata’s nephew. Sources said Derek O’Brien, Trinamool chief whip in the Rajya Sabha and the party’s national spokesperson, may replace Roy as the chairman of the party’s parliamentary party.
Roy has already said that he will not attend Saturday’s meeting because he will be “busy in Delhi” where the Union Budget will be tabled in Parliament.