As BJP’s national vice-president Mukul Roy returned to the Trinamul Congress fold yesterday, party leaders as well as political observers have started speculating that a “group” of other BJP MLAs may follow suit.
A few names have already come up after Mr Roy reportedly called “some MLAs and MPs” both in North and South Bengal today and then held a meeting with All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) General Secretary Abhishek Banerjee.
Sources said Mr Banerjee and Mr Roy discussed “those leaders belonging to other political parties, especially the BJP, who want to join the TMC.” TMC chief Mamata Banerjee, talking to reporters yesterday, had hinted that her party would welcome a section of her party’s former workers and leaders, who had joined the BJP.
As Mr Roy, based on a media report, contacted an MP in North Bengal and MLAs in this region, even in Jalpaiguri, local BJP leaders here are speculating that DabgramFulbari’s BJP MLA Sikha Chatterjee “may join the TMC.” Notably, Ms Chatterjee was with the TMC earlier and she joined the BJP when Mr Roy was in the saffron party.
Not only that, Mr Roy was Ms Chatterjee’s political mentor, and sources said she had managed a BJP ticket with Mr Roy’s help. Asked to comment on the speculations, Ms Chatterjee, however, said: “It is true that I have a good relationship with Mukul Roy. But he never asked me to follow his political decisions and path. It is nothing but media’s propaganda. I will serve the people by remaining with the BJP.”
However, local leaders here speak on the contrary. “She informed Mr Roy’s plans to BJP workers associated with her party’s women’s wing, as she visited North Bengal Medical College and Hospital to meet Jalpaiguri MP Dr Jayanta Roy, who was assaulted by alleged TMC goons yesterday. “Which MP in North Bengal received a phone call from Mukul Roy today? Is he Nisith Pramanik (close to Mr Roy)? Has Mr Roy laid a bait in Bengal politics for him, since he was elected as an MLA?” a local BJP leader said.
According to reliable sources, the TMC, keeping an eye on the next Parliamentary elections, has planned to ready its organisation so that it can regain the lost Lok Sabha seats by inducting MLAs and MPs from the BJP fold.
Notably, the TMC had failed to open its account in the last Lok Sabha polls in north Bengal. “The objective of this political strategy is to win a maximum number of seats from Bengal, as Mamata Banerjee will start another innings in national politics against the BJP, even as a section of political leaders have planned to take on the NDA by projecting Miss Banerjee as the prime ministerial candidate in 2024,” an observer said.
TMC activists in north Bengal have already opened new social media pages and have started inviting people to support Miss Banerjee as the PM candidate. Virtually worried, the BJP leadership in Bengal is keeping a close eye on the present political developments, it is learnt. On the other hand, it is learnt that the central BJP leadership is also formulating a strategy to “fight back,” and sources say that BJP MPs from both North Bengal and South Bengal may be given ministerial berths “if a reshuffle happens in the Narendra Modi Cabinet.”