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Mukul Roy returns to Trinamool

BJP leader Mukul Roy being felicitated by TMC National General Secretary Abhisekh Banerjee at TMC Bhavan in Kolkata on Friday
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BJP leader Mukul Roy being felicitated by TMC National General Secretary Abhisekh Banerjee at TMC Bhavan in Kolkata on Friday

Highlights

  • “I feel great at seeing my old colleagues, after leaving the BJP. I can't be in the BJP,” says Mukul Roy
  • A founder member of TMC, Roy was its General Secretary when he quit; the post has now gone to Mamata’s nephew

Kolkata: Mukul Roy, the BJP's first import from Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress in Bengal, returned to his former party on Friday along with son Shubhranshu, ending weeks of speculation. "Ghorer chhele ghore phirlo (Mukul has returned home)," said Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. He was never a traitor like the others, she stressed.

"Yes, more will come," she confirmed when reporters asked. "As you know, old is always gold." Mukul Roy told reporters: "I feel great at seeing my old colleagues, after leaving the BJP. I can't be in the BJP." He went on to describe the Chief Minister as "the only leader of Bengal and India".

To the uncomfortable question of his repeated attacks on 'Didi' in the past few years, Roy replied: "I never had any differences with Mamata Banerjee." Coming to his rescue, Mamata told reporters: "Don't try to create differences." On the question of Suvendu Adhikari, the Chief Minister snapped: "Only those who are sober and those who don't encourage bitterness are welcome back." Sources say Roy was the first target of Mamata's Operation "Return of the Prodigal", as it were. Mamata had signalled it during the election campaigning, when she said at a public rally: "Mukul Roy is not as bad as Suvendu Adhikari".

A founder member of the Trinamool, Roy was its General Secretary when he quit; the post has now gone to the Chief Minister's nephew Abhishek Banerjee, who first reached out to Roy and his family. Abhishek Banerjee last week visited Roy at the hospital where his wife is admitted. The very next day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reportedly spoke to Roy on the phone to ask after his wife's health, reflecting the BJP's nervousness.

The homecoming of its leaders, including those who switched just before the April-May Bengal election, is part of the Trinamool's forward planning for 2024. Its goal is to prevent a repeat of 2019, when the BJP scored big gains at the Trinamool's cost.

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