Downplaying senior BJP leader Mukul Roy’s return to the TMC in West Bengal, Suvendu Adhikari on Saturday said the party remains unaffected by his exit. Adhikari, who left TMC to join BJP months ahead of the West Bengal Assembly elections, alleged that the protocol to quit the party post and membership was not followed in Roy’s case.
“We are not moved or worried by Mukul Roy leaving the party. Statements have been issued by Joy Prakash Majumdar and Dilip Ghosh and my opinion is the same," he said.
“Since BJP is the only opposition, they’ll target BJP now. As an Opposition leader, I take the responsibility and say that protocol to give up post and membership weren’t followed," said Adhikari.
Adhikari went on to assert that he will work to ensure the anti-defection law is implemented in West Bengal as he said, “Anti-defection law has never been implemented or used in Bengal. I take the responsibility as an Opposition leader and say that I’ll ensure it is implemented."
Meanwhile, BJP leader Rajib Banerjee who was spotted at the residence of Trinamool Congress’ state secretary Kunal Ghosh in Kolkata. However, he dismissed plans of switching parties saying, “There were no such talks. I am still in Bharatiya Janata Party."
Roy’s return to the TMC evoked mixed reactions in the saffron camp on Friday, with its state unit president Dilip Ghosh asserting that the move will have no impact on his organisation, and former MP Anupam Hazra claiming that “lobby politics at play is adversely affecting the party".
A wilted leaf is no use to a tree. If a wilted leaf falls down there is no damage to a tree. In fact the tree gets filled with new leaves and gets a new vigour pic.twitter.com/6waEoPu1wP— Office of Dilip Ghosh (@DilipGhoshOff) June 12, 2021
BJP state unit vice president Joyprakash Majumder, on his part, extended his best wishes to Roy, and said that he should immediately quit all saffron party posts.
“Mukul babu is a veteran leader, he is a known face in Bengal politics. We wish him the best in his new innings but shouldn’t he forthwith quit from the primary membership and all other posts of the BJP? Should he not resign as the MLA as he had won a seat on the Lotus (BJP) symbol," Majumder said.
Roy, who held the post of national vice president in the saffron camp, along with son Shubranshu, was welcomed back to the TMC by party supremo and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and other senior leaders. He had joined the BJP back in 2017.
Taking a dig at Roy’s claims that not many leaders would be able to stay put for long in the BJP, Majumdar said, “We wonder if he was referring to TMC’s new politics of wiping out members of its main political rival."
“At least 18,000 ‘karya kartas’ (workers) of the BJP were forced to leave homes due to TMC terror. Tribal women in Malda district have become homeless. There have been other instances of attacks on women, which is unparalleled in India. These incidents in West Bengal are not coming to light. The intellectuals, perhaps, have run out of money to buy candles to take out protest rallies," Majumdar added.
Meanwhile, Ghosh said he was not sure if the BJP would lose anything from Roy’s decision, given that he was “unsure whether we gained anything" from his entry three-and-half years back.
“Right now, we are bothered about more serious issues as the cycle of violence goes on unabated in the state. We are bothered about the safety of our workers, who are being targeted by TMC activists," he pointed out.
Hazra, earlier in the day, said lobby politics within the saffron camp has led to such a situation. Taking to Twitter, he said that it was high time that the state unit of the BJP put an end to the practice and utilise leaders according to their merit. The former MP, who had switched over from the TMC to the BJP in 2018, however, asserted that he will continue to be a part of the saffron camp under all circumstances.
“Too much importance has been accorded to one or two leaders while ignoring and humiliating the rest. That has led to the present sad situation. There is also no trace of the royal passengers who had taken a chartered flight," the academic-turned-politician, who had unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha polls in 2019, said. Hazra was possibly referring to TMC turncoats Baishali Dalmiya, Rajib Banerjee and Prabir Ghosal, who had taken a chartered flight to Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s residence in Delhi earlier this year.
A section of state BJP leaders are of the view that Roy and other senior leaders, including Sabyasachi Dutta, were not accorded due importance by the saffron party top brass during the assembly elections, and only a handful of leaders, such as Suvendu Adhikari and actor-turned-politician Mithun Chakraborty were given all responsibilities. Hinting he was not made a part of important discussions in the party, Hazra said, “Hoping to get an invite to state unit meetings of the BJP as per protocol."
Meanwhile, Sayantan Bose, the state general secretary of the BJP, said that a disciplinary action committee has been formed on June 8, which would take note of the “anti-party" remarks made by some leaders on social media.
BJP spokesperson Shamik Bhattacharya also said that action might be initiated against those members who have aired their views without holding a discussion within the party. “We don’t approve of these comments as the ones posting them haven’t discussed the matters within the party.
The top leadership is taking note of such posts and will initiate necessary action," Bhattacharya added.
(With PTI inputs)