In 2015, when politician Mukul Roy was playing the role of a ‘fence sitter’ because of his differences with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, miles away from Kolkata, a nondescript house at ward number 6 at Thanapara in Cooch Behar’s Dinhata suddenly gained a lot of attention.
The district reporters who would have walked past the building without a second glance suddenly started making a beeline to inquire what’s cooking inside.
A brief inquiry revealed that the house belongs to one Manojit Saha Chowdhury and is registered as the office of a new political party — Nationalist Trinamool Congress (NTC) — with the Election Commission of India. They got the symbol of ‘Red Apple’.
Though many in the political fraternity claimed that Mukul Roy was the man behind the party, he never endorsed it officially.
Roy’s relationship with Banerjee turned sour in 2014 after his name came out in the Saradha ponzi scam. Then, despite sticking around in TMC, Roy lost his prominence in the party.
In 2015, Nationalist Trinamool Congress Party was formed and Amitava Majumdar was made the president of the party. However, the NTC felt cheated after Roy managed to bridge differences with Banerjee as according to Majumdar, who died recently, the NTC was the brainchild of Roy.
He had said, “Roy formed this party to confront Mamata politically in Bengal after he was removed from the post of Trinamool Congress general secretary. Since he is now back to TMC, we felt betrayed. Our leadership and our party supporters felt cheated.”
In the meantime, Roy’s relationship with TMC once again turned sour and he formally joined the BJP in 2017.
It is believed that more than 100 NTC members too silently shifted to BJP, leaving Majumdar, another vice-president Farid Khan and a few others alone.
When contacted, Farid Khan, former vice-president of the party, said: “I left the party in 2018. I don’t have any relation with the party anymore. I don’t want to be in politics. Presently, there is hardly anyone in the party who could steer it forward. Maybe some people are still associated with it, but I don’t have any idea.”
On the other hand, Roy continues to deny his association with the party, which has a website that doesn’t have enough details about its members and organizational setup.
Since its formation, the Nationalist Trinamool Congress continues to remain a hush-hush affair in Bengal’s politics.