Welcoming BJP MLA Mukul Roy to the Trinamool Congress, party supremo Mamata Banerjee termed his ‘Ghar Wapsi’ as “old is gold’.
She also clarified that those who “abused the party and crossed all limits" before joining the BJP ahead of the recently held assembly Polls will not be taken back into the TMC.
While addressing a press conference at the Trinamool Bhavan in Kolkata, Mamata said: “Mukul is our old family member. He joined the BJP after he was threatened (in the name of CBI). Today, he joined us and I noticed that he is mentally relaxed now. Old is gold and he will play an important role in the party.”
When asked whether his induction will strengthen the party further, she said, “TMC is already a strong party. This was proved in the recently held assembly polls. We came with a landslide victory. But yes Mukul is here today and we accepted him because he didn’t say anything against the TMC unlike other leaders who jumped ship from the TMC to BJP. It is difficult to work for the BJP party and Mukul’s return to us shows it all.”
Hitting out at the former TMC leaders like Suvendu Adhikari, Rajib Banerjee and others, the TMC chief said, “Today, I would like to clarify that those who abused us and indulged in personal attacks, cheap politics will not be taken back in the party. We will take back only those leaders who didn’t cross the laxman rekha and were decent enough towards the TMC.”
On the Narada and Saradha case, she said, “Why are they stretching the case for seven years? TMC leaders are not involved in the scam. I would like to question them (Centre) where the PM cares fund has gone? From where are they getting funds for the Central Vista project?”
Mukul was seen sitting beside Mamata Banerjee. “I am happy to be here in my old place. I will explain in detail some other day why I quit the BJP. I believe that under the leadership of Mamata Banerjee, Bengal will be back to its former glory. Today, I can say I will never return to BJP and I will never be with them again.”
Before addressing the press conference, Mamata Banerjee noticed that her chair was bigger than others on the podium. She asked to replace it. Abhishek immediately got up and replaced it with an ordinary chair.
On September 25, 2017, in a major setback for the TMC, Roy had resigned from the party’s working committee.
Then, addressing a press conference at Nizam Palace in Kolkata, Mukul had announced his resignation from the party’s primary membership and as a Rajya Sabha member.
Roy’s move had come days after Mamata Banerjee in a core committee meeting warned party leaders against hobnobbing with BJP people in Delhi. She had said those who wanted to join other parties were free to go but no anti-party activities would be tolerated.
On August 30, 2017, Roy was removed from the chairman’s post of the standing committee on transport, tourism and culture in the Rajya Sabha for his alleged proximity to BJP leaders in Delhi.
Since Roy was questioned by the Central Bureau of Investigation in connection with the Saradha Ponzi scheme in 2015, his relationship with Mamata had turned bitter as he had reportedly assured full cooperation to the probe agency.
When the TMC was formed in 1997, Roy was among the first leaders to join the party. He was the non-executive director of the United Bank of India (UBI) from 2002 to 2005.
In April 2006, he became a member of Rajya Sabha from West Bengal and was later appointed a member of the committee on urban development in August 2006. The same year, he became a member of the consultative committee in the ministry of home affairs.
In April 2008, Mamata made him the party’s all-India general secretary and the next year he became minister of state in the shipping ministry.
For Mamata, he was the most trusted party worker and had actively worked for her in protesting against the land acquisition by Bengal’s the-then Left Front government at Singur and Nandigram.