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In a big jolt to the Trinamool Congress (TMC), its number two leader, Mukul Roy, suspended by the TMC earlier, on Wednesday quit the party as well as his Rajya Sabha seat, saying all members in a party “should be comrades and not servants” in an apparent attack on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
In a startling claim, he also said, “I was asked by Mamata Banerjee to make contact with RSS leaders, including Ashok Singhal (the then VHP president) since 2003.”
With speculation rife about Roy likely to join the BJP, he said, “Since facing first elections in 1998, the TMC has been an ally of the BJP. We had declared that the BJP was not a communal party.”
Referring to Banerjee’s tenure as a Minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Government, Roy said the party cannot use the word “communal” against the BJP to suit its political requirements.
“When the TMC was an ally of NDA then Vajpayee was moderate but Advani was hardliner. Modi is good but Amit Shah is communal.
These double standards can’t carry on,” Roy said after submitting his resignation to Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu in Delhi on Wednesday.
Minutes after Roy’s attack, the TMC leadership hit back hard calling the former Railway Minister a “compulsive liar, a ghaddar (traitor),” who is a puppet with its strings in the hands of the BJP and the CBI.
Launching a vitriolic attack against Roy, his former colleague and Bengal Minister Partho Chatterjee said, “Now the Trinamool workers will go to sleep peacefully as the ghaddar (traitor) has left us. He was lifted from nowhere and made an MP and the Railway Minister of India by none other than Mamata Banerjee.” On Roy’s claims about the TMC-RSS links, Chatterjee termed him a liar.
Roy, who was seen as the right-hand man of Banerjee, told the media that he would reveal his future plans only after Diwali. He had earlier met BJP leader in charge of West Bengal, Kailash Vijayvargiya, who had said BJP was not in a hurry to induct him.
Roy, who was suspended for six years for “anti-party activities” by Banerjee following his announcement on September 25 that he would resign after Durga Puja, said: “I feel in a party everybody is a comrade and not a servant. And this kind of behaviour is common in every one-man political outfit. One-man politics is bad for every political party in the country.”
Without naming Banerjee, he said dynastic politics in the party is one of the main reasons for him to leave it. “There was no atmosphere in the TMC to even raise issues such as dynasty rule,” he said when asked as to why he took so long to take a decision to protest against the so called “dynastic politics” in the party.
Cracks had begun to surface in the relationship between Roy and Banerjee with the rise of her nephew Abhishek Banerjee as the next generation leader of the party. The fissures widened in 2015 when Roy’s name came up in the Saradha chit scam and he was removed as party’s general secretary.
On the issue of scams allegedly involving TMC leaders, Roy said “it is not possible for Banerjee to know what her leaders are doing at the individual level”.
Though Roy did not reveal his future political plans, he indicated that he will soon be joined by other TMC leaders and supporters. “When we broke away from the Congress, no MP or MLA joined us initially, but within 20 days we could form the TMC,” Roy said.
Ridiculing Roy as a “Kachda” (waste product) of Kachrapara, his native town in North 24 Parganas Chatterjee said, “Today he says that
Trinamool Congress is a one-man party. If so then why he did not raise this when he was not an MP? Why he did not quit the party then.”
“By saying so he has not only harmed the TMC but also insulted Mamata. No one is a servant in the Trinamool. All of us are colleagues and Mamata is our leader without whose name we are nobody.”
The TMC leaders also questioned Roy’s allegations of “dynastic rule” wondering why he was raising the issue now when his own son was an MLA. “He talks of dynastic rule but he has forgotten that his own son Subhranghu Roy is a TMC MLA. Is it not a sign of dynastic culture?”
West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh lauded Roy as a “good organiser” and said he had made a “big contribution” to the growth of the TMC in Bengal. “Nothing has been decided as of now as we are yet to take a call on this. But his departure from the TMC is good news for all of us who are fighting against the misrule of the TMC,” he said.
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