Kolkata, June 11 (PTI): In a blow to the prestige of the saffron brigade, Bharatiya Janata Partys national Vice President Mukul Roy along with son Subranshu, re-joined the Trinamool Congress on Friday, with Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and other leaders of the state’s ruling party welcoming him back to the fold.
Roy, who was closeted with Banerjee in Trinamool Bhavan before his formal re-induction in the party he helped set up, said he was “happy to see all known faces again”.
Addressing a press meet after the re-joining ceremony, Banerjee said Roy was threatened and tortured in the BJP, and that, in turn, affected his health.
“Mukul’s return proves that the BJP does not let anyone live in peace and put’s undue pressure on everyone,” the chief minister said. Roy was seated on Banerjees left hand, with Abhishek seated after him, while Partha Chatterjee, another top TMC leader sat on her right, indicative according to TMC sources, of the partys future pecking order.
Speculation had been rife for some time on a possible home coming by Mukul Roy who had crossed over to BJP in 2017 after being charged in the Narada tape sting, ever since Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek visited his wife at a city hospital earlier this month.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promptly after Abhisheks visit, rung up to enquire about Roys wifes health, seen by political observers as an attempt to retain him within the BJP-fold.
Interestingly, at Fridays re-joining ceremony, both Banerjee and Roy claimed that they never had any differences.
The chief minister said we will consider the case of those who had left TMC with Mukul for BJP and want to come back. A signal that this may be the start of more defections from BJPs Bengal unit.
However, Banerjee clarified that TMC politicians and workers who left to join the BJP just ahead of the April-May assembly elections will not be taken back.
Roy, once the second-in-command of the TMC, was removed from the post of the party’s national general secretary in February, 2015, sometime after the Narada sting was carried out by investigative journalists where many politicians were allegedly caught accepting wads of cash from a fictitious company. He joined the BJP in November, 2017.
Pranab’s son dispels rumours of joining TMC:
Kolkata: Dispelling rumours, Late President Pranab Mukherjee’s son, Abhijit Mukherjee, on Friday made it clear that he is not leaving the Congress unlike his friend Jitin Prasada. Television channels and a few newspapers had reported he would be joining the Trinamool Congress on Friday afternoon. “I remain in the Congress and reports that I am joining Trinamool or any other party are not correct,” Mukherjee, a former Lok Sabha MP and Congress Campaign Committee chairman during the assembly elections, told PTI over phone.
Mukherjee had good relations with Jitin Prasada, who recently joined the BJP, when they were colleagues in the Congress Parliamentary Party, and the Late President was also known to be fond of him and his father Jitendra Prasada.
Mukherjee, an engineer-turned politician who won twice from Jangipur constituency, said in a lighter vein: “I am nearly 300 km away from the Trinamool Bhavan right now, sitting in Jangipur House… so, unless someone can teleport me, it would be impossible for me to join any party this afternoon.”
He said the rumours probably arose after some of his father’s former Congress colleagues “who are now in Trinamool” had come to have tea with him.
“They included MP Khalilur Rahman from Jangipur, MP Abu Taher Khan from Murshidabad and TMC ministers Akhrruzzaman and Sabina Yesmin.
“But, I have known them for long, as they were close to my father… to speculate that just because friends came to meet me, I will join TMC, is stretching it too far,” Mukherjee said.