After Mukul Roy, another key Bengal BJP leader reiterates his displeasure with the party
A day after Mukul Roy severed ties with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and joined the Trinamool Congress, another key BJP leader, Rajib Banerjee, reached out to Trinamool Congress spokesperson Kunal Ghosh on Saturday.
Mr. Banerjee, a former Minister in the Trinamool Congress government, who contested and lost the Assembly polls on a BJP ticket, met Mr. Ghosh at his residence in Kolkata. Though he described his meeting as a “courtesy call”, Mr. Banerjee reiterated his displeasure with the BJP and said he maintained that it was not proper to threaten a government that has won such a massive majority with the imposition of President’s Rule under Article 356.
Mr. Banerjee was one of the BJP’s prize catches before the Assembly polls and the party had sent a private jet so that he and a few other leaders could travel to Delhi and join the BJP. He contested from Domjur and lost by a margin of over 40,000 votes. Mr. Banerjee maintained that “he was with the BJP till now”, but also added the politics of religious division won’t succeed in the State of West Bengal. Like Mr. Roy, Mr Banerjee has been absent at meetings of the West Bengal BJP after the results of the Assembly polls were declared.
There were frantic political developments in the day, with reports of Mr. Roy trying to reach out to a number of BJP leaders and MLAs. Biswajit Das, BJP MLA from Bagda, also praised Mr. Roy and stated that he respected Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Mr. Roy hails from North 24 Parganas and is said to have considerable influence in the district. Sources in the BJP said Mr. Roy had reached out to several BJP MLAs, both in south Bengal and north Bengal.
During the day Mr. Roy also met TMC general secretary Abhishek Banerjee at his office. On Friday, the 67- year-old former Railway Minister had joined the TMC in the presence of Ms. Banerjee after his 3-year-7-month stint as a BJP leader.
“We are not worried about committed workers. The defectors (‘aaya Ram, gaya Ram’) do not make much difference,” State BJP president Dilip Ghosh said.
Leader of the Opposition in the State Assembly and BJP MLA Suvendu Adhikari said that he would use the provisions of the anti-defection law to get MLAs “who defected from the BJP to the TMC” disqualified.