By Anindya Banerjee
New Delhi: He was once the most trusted lieutenant of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who switched to the BJP and is credited with bringing a horde of TMC MLAs, MPs and Municipal councillors to the saffron party. But now, Mukul Roy seems to be “very upset” with “no work”, either at central BJP or in the state, suggest sources, adding he has started to make himself heard at the top BJP level.
Contrary to speculation of his being inducted into the Modi cabinet, the fact is Roy met Amit Shah this week to make himself “heard”.
Though BJP President J.P. Nadda is at the helm of party affairs, Shah still steps in during “extraordinary situations” like the one this February, when he called BJP MPs and Prakash Javadekar soon after the Delhi poll concluded and exit polls predicted an AAP win.
This week was one such situation when Roy’s disgruntlement was conveyed to Shah by BJP’s West Bengal in-charge Kailash Vijayvargiya. A source said Roy met BJP’s top central leadership twice in the last seven days in the national capital.
On Saturday, after returning to West Bengal, Roy admitted he met Shah, but their discussion revolved around the 2021 assembly elections in the state. “Election strategy for West Bengal was the focal point of the discussion,” said Roy.
It is a known fact that Roy is not being allowed to “work freely” by Dilip Ghosh-controlled Bengal BJP unit. Roy communicated his long-standing disgruntlement to the central BJP after newcomers such as TMC turncoat Arjun Singh were given more prominence in post-cyclone Amphan politics. Similarly, first-time MP and Union minister Debasree Chaudhary has had more say in the organization.
Arjun Singh had defeated former Rail Minister Dinesh Trivedi in 2019 general election after being brought to the BJP fold by Roy.
The vernacular press in West Bengal was abuzz with Roy’s imminent induction into the Modi cabinet after he was chosen as the first speaker in Shah’s virtual rally for West Bengal. However, sources say, it had nothing to do with his induction. On the contrary, he had already complained to Vijayvargiya and another BJP Rajya Sabha MP by then, complaining he is not being “utilized” by the state BJP.
Problems started to compound ever since Dilip Ghosh returned as the state BJP chief this year.
There’s no formal word from the BJP or Roy on what transpired at his meeting with Amit Shah. However, IANS has learnt that Roy was told his pending CBI case in relation to the alleged Narada scam is a roadblock in his induction into the Modi cabinet.
Roy, who was then a very powerful TMC MP, was purportedly seen conversing with Mathew Samuels who had claimed to have conducted the sting operation in 2014. In the sting operation, a series of TMC leaders were seen accepting money in return of favours. He was also named in the infamous Saradha chit fund scam that the BJP had vociferously raised to up the ante against Mamata Banerjee.
While Mukul Roy continues to be a “valued” politician in New Delhi, his acceptability within the saffron fold in West Bengal remains virtually dismal. “Our cadres have fought against the Mamata government. Many have died in the process. Now, we can not ask them to be led by someone who was at the thick of that machinery that caused so much pain to them”, said a BJP state leader from the Jangalmahal area, a crucial tribal belt.
When asked by IANS on the internal politics of BJP in West Bengal, Roy shot back: “Who is spreading such misinformation?”
But, sources indicate otherwise. The fact that none less than the ‘Shah’ of BJP had to step in to talk to TMC’s election winning machine-turned-BJP’s Bengal man orchestrating migration from TMC suggests the situation is indeed “extraordinary”.
(Anindya Banerjee ca be contacted at [email protected])