Senior Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Mukul Roy, who resigned on Wednesday from all his party posts and the Rajya Sabha citing a culture of “one-manship” within the party, is likely to embark on a journey of West Bengal following Diwali celebrations in the state. The journey, which is likely to last for a month, will be under the banner of “Bangla Tumi Kemon Achho? (How are you, Bengal?)”.
The journey, covering almost all districts of West Bengal, will be undertaken by Roy to gauge the kind of support he commands in the districts of Bengal. It is on the basis of this that his future course of action for his political career is likely to be taken.
Roy will also be highlighting the “misdeeds” of the TMC and explain to the people what compelled him to come out of a party that he founded under his own name. Sources close to him said that Roy will interact with the common people in every district and apprise them of the “several failures of the TMC government”.
Following his resignation, Mukul Roy has been tight-lipped about joining any political party, but according to highly-placed sources close to Roy, he is likely to join the BJP and an announcement to that effect will be made after the festivities in the state are over.
According to sources, he is currently seeking opinions from several of his supporters on what future course of action in his political career he should be undertaking, as he does not want to take any decision in haste.
A source close to Mukul Roy said, “He is an organisational man, he has a lot of support base; therefore, he listens to all his party workers. He is currently having a discussion with several of his party workers as to what he should be doing.”
His resignation has already stirred a political turmoil within the party, as important party leaders from several districts in West Bengal are likely to “join” (support him tacitly, if not openly, till the time is right) Mukul Roy’s ship, soon after he announces his next course of action.
There were at least 250-300 TMC workers, who have considerable mass support in their respective constituencies, who had come from West Bengal to be present at his residence in Delhi during the press conference on Wednesday and show support to “their leader”.
One of the gram panchayat leaders of the TMC, present at the press briefing, who did not wish to be named, told this correspondent, “We are with Mukul Roy. Wherever he goes, we will be with him. He is a leader who has helped many young and talented politicians to rise in the state. Now, it pains to see him being sidelined in the party due to certain selfish needs of the party chief.”
Another TMC leader present at the briefing said: “This party was never formed to be a ‘one-man party’. Ground level workers don’t feel respected. We do not have a place to talk. As Mukul Roy rightly said, we are not servants but comrades of the party. There is going to be a tectonic shift in the politics of Bengal. A lot of unhappiness and factionalism in the party is going to ruin TMC.”
Mukul Roy, who was regarded as the “Chanakya” of the party and is known for his organisational skills, is credited as the architect of the TMC’s win in several elections held in the state.
The TMC has been pushed on the defensive ever since Roy announced his resignation from the party last month.
Party leader Partha Chatterjee, who has been trying to replace Roy by becoming the right-hand man of party chief Mamata Banerjee, did a series of press conferences as soon as Roy announced his displeasure with the party, attacking him and making personal attacks against Roy.
Earlier this week, Mamata Banerjee also removed Churamani Mahato, the Jhargram district president of the TMC, who was handpicked by Roy, in order to send a clear message to the party cadre in the state that those who were close to Roy could be removed. According to TMC insiders, the party is also scared that Roy could spill the beans about the party’s functioning, because as a second in command of the party and a leader who was close to Mamata Banerjee, he knew the ins-and-outs of the party and could use that knowledge for “political manoeuvring” in whichever party he joins.
One senior TMC leader, who is supporting Roy, said, “We have all been instructed to stay guarded against Mukul Roy and have been asked to corner him by all means. But we are sure that we will emerge victorious and we will be with him.”