<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mukul Roy, who was long the second most powerful leader of the Trinamool Congress, joined the BJP, claiming that people of West Bengal wanted an alternative to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, and will vote the saffron party to power in the next polls.The former railway minister, known for his organisational skills, joined the BJP in the presence of its chief Amit Shah.Roy told reporters later that the BJP was not a communal but secular party.”We do not want to give much importance to what Mukul Roy does. He is no longer with the TMC and we are least bothered about him,” a senior TMC leader, who did not wish to be named, told PTI.Roy, a former railway minister and parliamentarian who had recently quit the TMC, formally joined the BJP today. He was inducted into the saffron party at its headquarters in New Delhi in the presence of its president Amit Shah.
ALSO READ Once Mamata’s number 2, former Trinamool Congress leader Mukul Roy joins BJPThe TMC, which had suspended Roy on September 25 for six years for “anti-party” activities, is yet to come out with an official statement on the issue.The Bengal BJP unit, on the other hand, welcomed the development and expressed hope that Roy would play a vital role in strengthening the base of the saffron outfit in the state.
ALSO READ Mukul Roy quits Trinamool, resigns as Rajya Sabha MP”We welcome the decision. As we all know that the BJP is growing at a fast pace in Bengal, Roy’s induction will strengthen the party in the state. He is known for his organisational capabilities,” state BJP president Dilip Ghosh said.Asked about the corruption allegations against Roy, Ghosh said, “There can be allegations against anybody, but until and unless they are proved, how can you call someone guilty? The law will take its own course.”Incidentally, till a few months ago, the BJP had repeatedly launched verbal attacks against Roy and other TMC leaders for their alleged involvement in corruption and scams.The CPI(M) and the Congress claimed that Roy joining the BJP was a part of a “tacit understanding” between the saffron party and the TMC in Bengal.”We have been saying this for a long time that the BJP and the TMC have a tacit understanding in Bengal. Now, with Roy joining the BJP, it has been proved that the two parties are two sides of the same coin,” CPI(M) politburo member and MP Mohammed Salim said.State Congress president Adhir Chowdhury also echoed his views.Roy (63) recalled how the TMC forged an alliance with the BJP soon after Banerjee founded it and became a minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. He said the regional party could not have grown without the BJP’s support.Rejecting Banerjee’s charge against the BJP, he said, “It is not a communal party. It is a secular party. People in Bengal are not happy and are looking for an alternative. The BJP will soon clinch power in the state.” Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told a press conference after Roy joined the party that he was a founder leader of the TMC leader who played a key role in its expansion and march to power in the state.He also effectively fought excesses and atrocities of the previous CPI(M) governments, Prasad said, insisting that Roy expressed his desire to join the BJP unconditionally and the party welcomes him wholeheartedly.Roy later told journalists that “restoring democracy” in West Bengal will be his priority.”I will work for restoration of democracy in Bengal, that will be my first task. I am a national level politician, I will try to see that people in Bengal can at least vote according to their choice. If people can cast their votes in panchayat polls, the BJP will wrest power from the TMC in least in 5 zila parishads,” he said.”I am an organisational man. People of Bengal have turned against the TMC government. I am sure that in the Lok Sabha polls in 2019 and Assembly elections in 2021 the BJP will win Bengal,” Roy said.The party is likely to task him with an important responsibility to drive its growth in the eastern state, where it has been traditionally weak. However, it is not clear yet what role he will have in the organisation.”His role will be decided,” BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, who is the party’s in-charge for the state, said.The BJP will expand further in the state with Roy’s induction, Prasad said.Asked about corruption allegations against him, Roy said the law will take its own course.It will be his “proud privilege” to work under Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Shah, he said.Roy had quit the Rajya Sabha and the TMC last month. He was suspended by the party earlier as his differences with Banerjee grew and he was seen veering towards the BJP.