Kolkata: The possible comeback of senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and ex-Meghalaya Governor Tathagata Roy into the mainstream politics of West Bengal is likely to raise high hopes amongst saffron workers ahead of the crucial Assembly polls scheduled for next year.
The former Meghalaya Governor who is an ex-BJP state president had earlier said that he is willing to accept any role in the party. He also expressed his desire to return to active politics in Bengal and wants to rejoin the lotus brigade within a couple of days.
On his arrival at the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International airport here from Shillong, Roy on Sunday had said that he would meet the state BJP president with regard to his joining the party, which he expects to take place shortly.
“Yes, I had a talk with him (Tathagata Roy) over the phone. We will have a meeting in a couple of days. He will come to my place in the next two days,” BJP state president Dilip Ghosh told IANS.
Amid political speculation on who would become the BJP’s poster boy in Bengal for the upcoming assembly elections, Roy’s comeback definitely stands out as the most significant one.
Roy was the state BJP president between 2002 and 2006 and also a member of the BJP’s national executive committee from 2002 to 2015. Later, he was appointed the governor of Tripura in May 2015. In August 2018, he took over as the governor of Meghalaya.
“Tathagata Roy has been a senior BJP leader for a pretty long time. He had held many important posts in the past. Being a Hindu leader he has always been vocal about various issues on social media which drew a substantial fan following for him nationally,” state BJP vice-president Ritiesh Tiwari told IANS.
He said that being a senior member Roy knows a lot of people in the saffron fold. “Whether he will be inducted in the party or not that is a different question. The BJP leadership will take a call on that. I cannot comment on it now,” he said.
Tiwari said the BJP is an organisation-based political party. Therefore, no individual leader gets any extra political mileage here.
“But definitely, Roy is an erudite person and knows the party really well. But there has been a fundamental change in the organisation in the last five years – the time when he had left the BJP and became Tripura Governor in 2015. That time the BJP was not so significant in Bengal. But currently, the political situation is completely different. Now it is to see how he will cope with that if he joins back the BJP in Bengal,” he pointed out.
The question of who would politically take on the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress in Bengal on behalf of the BJP has been doing the rounds for quite long now – a person with a similar political background and acceptance to lead the electoral battle from the forefront.
“He was always accepted by the educated middle class Bengalis for his erudite nature and intellectual refinement. It is a good sign for the BJP to score in the coming polls. I don’t know how the new BJP will accept him now. But if he joins back it will definitely add value to the party here,” said political analyst Udayan Bandopadhyay.
Bandopadhyay said the new BJP leaders who are now in the forefront of mainstream politics in Bengal are fiercely outspoken on radical issues. “Whereas Roy is much more suave in nature while delivering public speeches and is known for his intellectual refinement. Now the question is whether he will be able to survive among the new set of BJP leaders. But yes, he has an acceptance in Bengal and is the most prominent name in the BJP after the late Tapan Sikdar.
“I personally feel if Tathagata Roy is given a little bit of a free hand in the BJP, it will help the saffron brigade to garner more support in Bengal,” he said.