Mukul Roy quits TMC, Rajya Sabha; likely to join BJP
New Delhi/Kolkata: Suspended Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Mukul Roy resigned from the party and his Rajya Sabha seat on Wednesday, accusing party chief and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee of playing dynasty politics.
Roy, who was once the second-in-command in the TMC, said he was compelled to take the decision as one-person parties were not good for the country.
“We all saw the rise of Abhishek Banerjee, Mamata Banerjee’s nephew in the party. I could not raise my voice against it as the atmosphere in the party didn’t allow me to discuss the issue of dynasty politics,” he said at a press conference.
Hitting out at the TMC chief, Roy also said that all members in a party “should be comrades and not servants”.
The TMC leader had earlier in the day met Rajya Sabha chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu to submit his resignation from the upper house of Parliament. To be sure, Roy had announced on 25 September that he would quit the party after Durga Puja, soon after which he was suspended from TMC for six years for anti-party activities.
Roy also spoke about Banerjee’s relations with the Congress party, accusing her of supporting a party that she had once pledged to destroy.
“The TMC was formed to fight against the Congress but now we see the party leadership says that nothing can be achieved without the Congress’s support. Why doesn’t the party just merge with the Congress then?” he said.
Even though Roy spoke about why he left the party, there was no clarity on whether he would be joining any other party or start a party of his own. Speculation of Roy joining the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was rife as he met the BJP’s West Bengal in-charge Kailash Vijayvargiya on Monday. Roy also held a meeting with finance minister Arun Jaitley last week.
Roy did not reveal his plans, but said BJP was not a communal party. “In 1998 when the TMC had seat-sharing arrangement with the BJP in West Bengal, its leadership had made it clear that BJP is not communal,” he said.
Dismissing Roy’s allegations that no one except Banerjee had any say within the TMC, party secretary general Partha Chatterjee said Roy had been trying to undermine the party from inside for years.
“She (Mamata Banerjee) is the leader and the role model for everyone to follow. Everyone within the party is treated with dignity,” said Chatterjee. He alleged that Roy was under pressure from probe agencies such as the Central Bureau of Investigation, and had sold his soul and turned “traitor”.
Political analysts say TMC does not face any immediate threat from Roy’s exit.
“However, a time will come when people of West Bengal will start to question Banerjee’s way of running the state,” said Biswanath Chakraborty, a professor of political science at Kolkata’s Rabindra Bharati University. “If the BJP manages to use Roy intelligently, there is a possibility that it will be better off to take on the TMC at that time,” he added.