BJP vice president Mukul Roy arrived at the Trinamool headquarters in Kolkata on Friday along with his son Subhrangshu ahead of his formal return. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, too, was seen entering the Trinamool Bhawan.
Roy — once the closet aide of Mamata Banerjee — was the party’s first big leader to jump ship in 2017. Over the following years, he was seen as instrumental in persuading a bunch of Trinamool MLAs and leaders to shift loyalty.
Speculation about Mukul Roy’s return started when Abhishek Banerjee, the nephew of Mamata Banerjee and the party’s newly appointed general secretary, visited Roy at the hospital in Kolkata where his wife is admitted. This, in turn, prompted a similar visit by BJP West Bengal chief Dilip Ghosh soon after, followed by a phone call by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday to Roy, who has been in home isolation since the middle of May after testing positive.
Roy had also kept largely quiet since the May 2 result except to tweet his steadfast loyalty to the BJP.
In a reversal of fortunes from before the Assembly elections, which saw high-spectacle desertions from the TMC to the BJP, it is the saffron party’s turn now to watch the exit door. While some leaders have made their desire to return to the TMC known, in plaintive appeals to Banerjee, others have dropped hints of their “remorse” via social media.
On the day of the results itself, ex-TMC minister Rajib Banerjee, who lost on the BJP ticket from Domjur in Howrah, had tweeted, “The lovable people of Bengal have made their choice very clear… Any attempt to do politics now while Bengal is fighting Covid cannot be acceptable.”