Senior BJP leader Mukul Roy rushed to former mayor Sovan Chatterjee’s residence on the instruction of the party’s Central leadership to persuade him not to take any hasty step after he threatened to quit the party yesterday. Mr Roy said that Sovan Chatterjee and his friend Baishakhi Banerjee were very much members of the BJP and there was no basis in the speculation that they may quit.

“This is absolutely speculation that they are quitting the party. They have joined BJP and shall remain in our party. We have also discussed many things regarding our party’s future programme,” he said. Former Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) mayor and a key aide of Trinamul Congress (TMC) supremo Mamata Banerjee till the other day, Sovan Chatterjee joined BJP in Delhi on 14 August and accused the TMC of throttling democracy during the last panchayat polls. Mr Chatterjee, a two-time mayor, has always been close to Mamata Banerjee and was with the Trinamul Congress from its birth.

He joined the saffron party in a significant blow to the ruling Trinamul Congress in West Bengal. Also a former cabinet minister, Mr Chatterjee is seen to be the BJP’s biggest catch in Bengal after former TMC vice-president Mukul Roy, who earlier said the exit would weaken his former party TMC immensely and the BJP will win the upcoming election of the KMC. Trinamul Congress MLA Raidighi and actress Debashree Roy is said to have gone to Delhi on 14 August to join the party but it was learnt that Sovan and Baishakhi raised objections to this. BJP state president and MP, Mr Dilip Ghosh, however, said if all members of BJP were in accord, then Debashree could be inducted into the party.

Earlier on 29 August, a meeting was held at the residence of BJP West Bengal co-observer Arvind Menon, where all the central leaders, including Kailash Vijayvargiya joined the meeting. Party sources said that Vijayvargiya expressed his dissatisfaction during the meeting over not inducting Debashree following Sovan Chatterjee and Baishakhi Banerjee’s objection. Later, Sovan and Baishakhi wanted to tender their resignation. Yesterday, Sovan and Baishakhi went to Delhi and later held a discussion with Mukul Roy. Party sources said a meeting was held between party’s executive president JP Nadda and Sovan. Mr Nadda, however, asked the former KMC mayor to resolve the issues and work for the party.