Exactly 40 days after the Trinamool managed to register the mammoth win against BJP in the West Bengal Assembly elections, Mukul Roy, BJP’s (now former!) national vice-president and a former TMC strongman has returned ... HOME.
Being a founder member of the TMC, Mukul Roy was a trusted lieutenant of Didi all through the party’s fight against the Left and Roy also witnessed the historic moment when Left was usurped from power in 2011.
Such was his clout that after Mamata, the TMC had pressured the Congress-led UPA government to drop Dinesh Trivedi and appoint him (Mukul) as Union Railways Minister in 2012.
However, things soured between him and the TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee when the Narada-Sarada scams came to the fore and Roy’s reported involvement surfaced.
Eventually, by 2017, Mukul felt “breathless” in TMC and switched over to BJP (see graphic). His initial stint in the BJP was noteworthy and Kailash Vijayvargia wanted Mukul to be elevated in the Union ministry, however, PM Modi apparently did not seem interested with the fact mainly over Mukul’s reportedly involvement in the scams. However, when Nadda took over the party, he elevated Mukul’s status. BJP grew from strength to strength during this time and in the 2019 Lok Sabha, the Saffron camp won 18 seats from a meagre 2 seats in 2014.
What it means for the BJP: With Mukul’s departure, BJP’s stature in West Bengal currently is at its lowest. This move has created lack of confidence among workers, a sizable amount of whom came due to Mukul. With Mukul’s exit, it is almost certain that all the turncoats will return, though none of them except Suvendu and Mukul managed to win during the Assembly elections. However, what should worry and give sleepless nights to the BJP is the Lok Sabha elections slated in 2024. With the Assembly debacle in West Bengal, the winning spree of the BJP has dented considerably and given the current scenario with the “rumblings” in Uttar Pradesh, BJP will have a lot to ponder upon.
Mamata has once again shown her astuteness as a politician following the election victory. Even the recent CBI action against four TMC strongmen could do no harm to the party instead, the action went squarely against the Centre as the entire country felt that it was a kind of political vendetta against a party that was mandated to power in such a huge manner. Meanwhile, the state unit of the BJP has to do a good amount of introspection and rethink its battle strategy and try to be more regional rather than have a templated North-Indian approach. Till then, Mamata will march ahead and in Rajneeti, as they say it’s all about how you play your cards!