The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) takes pride in being a cadre-based political organisation. Analysts credit this cadre-base and inherent discipline behind fewer instances of exodus from the BJP to other parties. However, reports from West Bengal suggest that the situation could be different here.
In the run up to the West Bengal Assembly election, the BJP became a lodge for Trinamool Congress (TMC) dissidents. More than 30 leaders from the TMC crossed over to the BJP, which generated enough waves in the election pool of West Bengal that led many to believe that the party would be winning its final frontier in the east.
But Mamata Banerjee came in the way of the BJP’s election juggernaut like a cyclone emerging from the Bay of Bengal. She created a pro-incumbency wave that left the BJP bruised and battered. Now, it seems she is eyeing to see the BJP broken in Bengal.
A reverse Operation Kamal is on the anvil in West Bengal. Several BJP leaders who crossed over from the TMC ahead of the assembly election are reaching out to the West Bengal Chief Minister or anyone close to her seeking rehabilitation, almost unconditionally.
Many of them are MLAs. The TMC has claimed that of 77 MLAs who won the West Bengal Assembly election on the BJP tickets were eager to return to their mother-fold. They seek forgiveness from Mamata Banerjee for joining the BJP, which ignored its cadres hoping that TMC turncoats could win it power in West Bengal.
Among the big names speculated to be planning their ghar-wapasi is Mukul Roy, the vice-president of the BJP. He had joined the BJP in 2017 and was made the party’s vice-president within a very short time as the leadership eyed favourable returns in the West Bengal Assembly election.
Mukul Roy won the assembly election from Krishnanagar Uttar seat in the Nadia district of West Bengal. He triggered the speculation of going back to the TMC after Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee paid a visit to the hospital where his wife was admitted for treatment of Covid-19.
Mukul Roy received a call from Prime Minister Narendra Modi inquiring about Bengal MLA’s wife’s health the next morning. This happened last week.
Meanwhile, the former Railway Minister skipped a meeting in Kolkata on Tuesday called by Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh, who has been at the receiving end after the party’s drubbing at the hands of Mamata Banerjee’s TMC in the assembly election. he had missed another meeting of BJP legislators called by Dilip Ghosh on May 7.
In the absence from Dilip Ghosh-called meeting, Mukul Roy was joined by Bengal BJP spokesperson Shamik Bhattacharya and another heavyweight leader, Rajib Banerjee. Like Mukul Roy, Shamik Bhattacharya and Rajib Banerjee had joined the BJP crossing over from the TMC.
Suvendu Adhikari, the new poster boy of the BJP in Bengal for having defeated Mamata Banerjee in the assembly election, was also absent from the meeting called by Dilip Ghosh. But he was in Delhi for two days over which he met BJP president JP Nadda, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and then Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
‘Informed rumours’ from Bengal have it that these three could be part of the big ‘Reverse Operation Kamal’ that the TMC is eyeing to carry out. The ‘rumour’ gets fuel from the not-so-secret past rivalry between Mukul Roy and Suvendu Adhikari since their TMC days.
Operation Kamal is an unofficial name given to large-scale defection of MLAs from rival parties to the BJP. The name gained popularity from such instances in Karnataka over the years. Observers of Bengal politics believe that Mamata Banerjee is trying her hands at a fresh canvas painting her new political image for rivals in the BJP.