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Mukul Roy wants to meet RSS chief, likely to revive outfit to cosy up to BJP

The BJP badly needs the service of a man like Roy, who knows the Trinamool Congress machinery better than anyone else in the state

india Updated: Oct 03, 2017 16:47 IST
Sumanta Ray Chaudhuri
Sumanta Ray Chaudhuri
Hindustan Times
Mukul Roy,Mukul Roy TMC,Trinamool Congress
Mukul Roy himself wants to join the BJP but it will be difficult for the saffron party to induct him directly.(PTI)

Intense speculation this Durga Puja in West Bengal over the future of senior Trinamool Congress leader Mukul Roy all converged to one point – the veteran leader who was once chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s closest aide is likely to form his own party that will be close to the BJP.

Roy himself has indicated nothing and has maintained he will announce his plans after the Puja, which ended last Saturday. But sources close to him told HT that he will visit Delhi on October 8. The next day he may resign from Rajya Sabha. He has already resigned from the party’s working committee.

“Mukul Roy is likely to be with the Nationalist Trinamool Congress (NTC), the party his close followers formed in 2015 after he was sidelined in the Trinamool Congress,” said a close associate of the former Union railway minister (March-September 2012).

Though its president Amitabha Majumdar said in February 2016 that NTC would be merged with Trinamool Congress, the process was not completed. Majumdar had gone to Election Commission and obtained a symbol for the party. In the EC records, NTC is still a separate political entity.

Sources said Roy himself wants to join BJP but that it would be difficult for the party to induct him directly. Roy has sought a meeting with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat when the latter speaks in Kolkata on Tuesday. But the Sangh didn’t confirm such a meeting. Over the past weeks, Roy met various BJP leaders.

The saffron party’s top leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and president Amit Shah have repeatedly said that none involved in the Saradha and Narada scam will be spared – and Roy is allegedly in both scandals.

If BJP allows Roy to join, it has to surrender the plank of anti-corruption, and Mamata Banerjee can push it as an admission by BJP that the allegations against her party leaders are baseless.

However, ironically, BJP badly needs the service of a man like Roy, who knows the Trinamool Congress machinery better than anyone else in the state. For years he was a trouble shooter for the organisation and negotiated with many leaders of opposition parties to get them into Trinamool.

Trinamool leaders are apprehensive that Roy will try to weaken the party from within. “He has too many eyes and ears within the party with which he was associated since its inception in late 1997,” said a member of the Mamata Banerjee cabinet.

For BJP, Bengal is one of the focus states in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, when the party wants to corner at least half of the 42 constituencies in the state. During his visit to Kolkata in the second week of September, in a meeting with party workers in Kolkata, Amit Shah expressed displeasure with the state of the party organisation on various parameters in the state.

Roy can provide valuable service to BJP in these circumstances.

First Published: Oct 03, 2017 15:10 IST