Mukul Roy Trying To Join TMC Since March, Party Not Keen: Sources
The Quint has learnt that Roy has been trying to arrange meetings with top leaders of the TMC for four months now.
BJP leader from West Bengal, Mukul Roy, is looking to get back to his former party, the Trinamool Congress, a top source in the party has confirmed to The Quint.
The TMC high command, however, is said to have kept Roy at bay and is not very keen on taking him back in their fold, given his present, troubled equation with the BJP.
Roy & Son Subhrangshu Reaching Out To TMC Since March
It is learnt that Mukul and his son Subhrangshu Roy (who defected to the BJP from the TMC in 2019) have been trying to meet top Trinamool leaders for over four months now.
"When he tried to contact Didi (Mamata Banerjee) directly, he was told that Abhishek (Banerjee, Mamata's nephew) will handle the matter," the source said.
The father-son duo have met Mamata's close aides over the past months, even flying to Delhi to meet some of them, but Abhishek is yet to grant Mukul a meeting, the source further added.
Subhrangshu has also offered to to make a solo switch over, without his father, saying that he stayed on in the party even after his father and should therefore be able to come back without him. The idea is, however, not agreeable to the party.
Mukul Roy, once Trinamool supremo Mamata Banerjee's right-hand man, joined the BJP in 2017, following a growing rift with Banerjee and the party that started in 2015.
According to reports, this rift started soon after he was questioned by the CBI in the Sarada chit-fund scam which embroiled many top TMC leaders.
Since his entry in the BJP, however, Roy has not been questioned by the CBI on the scam, which continues to be a major political talking point in West Bengal.
Roy's Demands & Fallout With BJP
There are three major demands that Roy has made with the Trinamool, and the party has shown reluctance in accepting all three.
The first is that all MLAs and leaders who went with him to the BJP be inducted back to the party. The party has told him that they will take a "case-by-case" decision on this and that all defectors are not welcome back.
Secondly, he's asked for a "secure future" for his son through increased involvement in the party as well as the government, but the Trinamool has expressed their reservations about that as well.
"Lastly, Mukul expects to be enjoying the same position in the party as he held earlier and wants a big organisational and leadership role. The party has told him that if he does come back, he will have to work in a role defined by the party high command", a close aide of Mamata Banerjee told The Quint.
"He is having problems with the BJP. We know that. His future in that party is uncertain. In such a scenario, why should we take him back the second he extends an olive branch?", they added.
The most recent manifestation of Roy's strained relationship with the BJP is when he was conspicuously absent from a meeting between West Bengal BJP leaders and the party's central leadership in Delhi this week. This is in spite of Roy being in Delhi during that time.
After joining the BJP in 2017, Roy has helped the BJP gain ground in the 2018 state panchayat polls, as well as the 2019 Lok Sabha election.
He also organised many defections from the TMC into the BJP. However, in the recent months, the defections seem to have stopped. In July 2019, Roy had claimed that 107 MLAs from the Trinamool are in talks with him. However, not a single MLA of the TMC has defected to the BJP since then.
BJP sources say that while Roy is looking to be rewarded for his performance, the party might just not have any use for him anymore.
"He has done his ground work. BJP is not a regional party. He will not have organisational command here like he did in the TMC, and that seems to be irking him. Frankly for us also, he's a liability now", said a senior BJP leader, on condition of anonymity.
"There's also the fact that Roy can't see Dilip Ghosh getting the importance than he is getting. He is miffed that Ghosh is being seen as BJP's next Chief Ministerial face. He can't go to the Trinamool because Abhishek is not going to have him. My guess is that he's doing all this to get attention from the BJP high-command in Delhi", said another BJP insder.
"He also has the expectation of a ministerial berth in the Centre. At this point he just wants to remind the Shah-Modi-Nadda trio that he exists in West Bengal and is looking for his dues", the insider added.
There have also been local reports that say that the state RSS is unhappy with Mukul for bringing "tainted" TMC leaders into the party.
So much so that the organisation declared in 2019 that it will "filter" the BJP's recruitment in Bengal.
The Quint reached out to Mukul Roy for a comment on the story.
"I'm still very much with the BJP. I was in-charge of the party for both panchayat and Lok Sabha elections so the question does not arise", Roy said.
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