Mukul, who was joined by son Subhrangshu in the “homecoming ceremony” at the Trinamool headquarters, had quit TMC and joined BJP in November 2017, becoming its first and biggest catch till Suvendu Adhikari joined the saffron party in the run-up to this year’s assembly poll. Several TMC leaders had followed Mukul to BJP as he helped his new party win 18 of the 42 seats in Bengal in 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Mamata Banerjee said more people from BJP would join TMC
More will leave BJP, but won’t let traitors in: Didi
TMC members hoped that Mukul Roy’s return on Friday — described by Mamata as “ghorer chhele ghore firlo (homecoming)” — would mark a reverse exodus from BJP and prompt its “collapse like a pack of cards in Bengal”.
Mamata didn’t elaborate on Mukul’s role in TMC, merely saying that he would “play a key role.” “More people will come (from BJP)”, she said and made a distinction between TMC-to-BJP turncoats and others: “Gaddar der nebo na (We won’t take back traitors).” Mukul said “Bhalo lagchhe (it feels good)” to describe how the “homecoming” felt. “I couldn’t work in BJP and will not work for BJP. So, I chose to return home,” he said, adding, “No one will remain in BJP.”
Mamata said it was “difficult to stay in BJP”. “They intimidate and threaten. No one will be able to stay there with dignity . Mukul didn’t say it but he too faced it. I have even seen his health deteriorate. It is good that he has retuned home,” she said. “Old is always gold,” said Mamata, adding that Mukul had “not maligned TMC even when he was with BJP”.
TMC national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee said: “I empathise with his (Mukul’s) struggles. We will work as a team in TMC.”
Mukul was one of the leaders who were with Mamata when she formed TMC in 1998. He has served as its national general secretary for seven years, been elected to the Rajya Sabha twice and has been railway minister. His ties with the party leadership started deteriorating since the CBI began probing the Saradha case. He hung around for some time, but, with his importance diminishing, left TMC and joined BJP in 2017. His graph in BJP rose after 2019 LS poll. However, things started going downhill in run-up to this year’s assembly poll. He fought on a BJP ticket from Krishnanagar (North) and won.
His ties with BJP nosedived further after Adhikari became the opposition leader in the assembly. Abhishek’s visit to hospital to see Mukul’s ailing wife , Krishna, on June 2 signalled a possible rapprochement. “Even PM Modi’s call to Mukul a day later, when he asked about Krishna’s health, failed to repair the breach,” a TMC leader told TOI. Ironically, it was Abhishek’s rise in TMC that was said to be one of the reasons behind his defection. On Friday, Mukul denied he had “any difference of opinion” with Abhishek. Mamata, during Friday’s press conference, said: “Abhishek and Mukul had no difference of opinion.”