In a blow to the saffron brigade, senior BJP leader Mukul Roy along with son Subhranshu returned to the Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Friday in the presence of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata.
Roy, who held the position of the national vice president in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said he was "happy to see all known faces again". "I have joined TMC today. In the present circumstances, no one will stay in the BJP," he added.
Meanwhile, BJP MP Arjun Singh slammed Mukul Roy after his "gharwapsi". Singh said Roy was never a public leader and that his time in politics is up.
"Mukul Roy was never a public leader. In WB, politics can't be done from AC room. His time in politics is up. Nobody trusts him. Everybody had info that he provides internal info of BJP to TMC. If rivals get to know your planning, it causes you loss," Arjun Singh said.
"Opportunists in politics do this. There was a rift between Abhishek Banerjee and him...he then joined BJP...he'll keep coming & going. He won an election for the first time, that too on BJP symbol. He should've resigned before going," he added.
BJP MP Khagen Murmu said Roy's return to the TMC will not affect the BJP. "Mukul Roy had left TMC & joined BJP before me. He played a good role in our party's organisational work with proper respect. Today I got to know that he returned to TMC. It's totally his matter. He can say about it. But it will never impact our party," said Murmu.
Meanwhile, Mamata Banerjee said Roy was threatened in the BJP, and that, in turn, affected his health.
"Mukul's return proves that the BJP does not let anyone in peace and puts undue pressure on everyone," the chief minister said.
Both Banerjee and Roy claimed that there never had any differences.
Asked if her party would be taking back other turncoats, too, Banerjee clarified that the ones who left the TMC to join the BJP just ahead of the April-May assembly elections will not be taken back.
Roy, once the second-in-command of the TMC, was removed from the post of the party's national general secretary in February, 2015.
He had joined the BJP in November, 2017.
(With PTI inputs)