Several Mukul Roy loyalists and supporters, including some Trinamool Congress (TMC) panchayat samiti heads and block presidents, among others, from several districts, joined the BJP, soon after Roy announced his decision to be a part of the saffron brigade.
Not only this, at a massive rally organised by the West Bengal BJP in Kolkata, several TMC leaders, including those from the districts and considered close to Mukul Roy, joined the BJP, leaving their parent party, in the presence of Mukul Roy, BJP state president Dilip Ghosh and state observer Kailash Vijayvargiya.
The TMC is facing severe factionalism in almost all its district units across West Bengal and is witnessing a mass switchover from the TMC to the BJP in several districts across the state.
Even earlier this week, around 1,500 e-rickshaw drivers from the Jalpaiguri district of North Bengal left the TMC to join BJP.
In North 24 Parganas, Medinipur, Bankura, Murshidabad and in other districts too, several block level and sub-divisional level leaders are moving from the TMC to the BJP along with their supporters, due to intra-party rivalries in the TMC.
A disgruntled TMC leader from North 24 Parganas district, who did not wish to be named, but is considered to hold a massive support base in the area, told The Sunday Guardian that they were passively working for the BJP on the ground, but was fearing to come out in the open due to the police atrocities that would be unleashed on them once their support for the saffron party was revealed.
“I have mobilised over 5,000 to 6,000 workers on the ground who are formally ready to move to the BJP along with me. But the fear here is that the local TMC leaders would unleash their police on us to get us arrested on false narcotic cases. However, since Mukul Roy has joined the BJP, there seems to be a different form of enthusiasm among our workers. Many see him as their saviour. We will make our move very soon,” the disgruntled TMC leader said.
Another senior TMC leader, considered close to Mukul Roy, told this correspondent, “We are being threatened with police and CID so that we do not join the Mukul camp. Our phones are being tapped. We are being monitored. Our MLAs and district presidents have asked everybody to keep a tight vigil on the people who flocked to Kolkata to attend the BJP rally on Friday. Private bus owners were also threatened not to provide buses to ferry people to the rally in Kolkata. This is not how democracy functions.”
According to a senior BJP functionary in West Bengal, disgruntled TMC leaders of the state have found a counter platform in the BJP to vent their anger against Mamata Banerjee and her government and that platform has been strengthened with the entry of a “tall” and “organisational” leader like Mukul Roy.
The Bengal BJP cadre on the ground is excited about Mukul Roy joining the party, and this excitement was also evident from the grand reception Roy received after he reached Kolkata airport from Delhi on Monday.
A state BJP leader said: “The entire state BJP leadership was jittery about Mamata Banerjee. They lacked the vision and strategy to attack the Mamata Banerjee government. Despite trying hard, they were not being able to grab the main Opposition’s space in the state. Mukul Roy’s entry has breathed fresh air into the cadre. Even the senior BJP state leadership is overwhelmed after Roy’s entry. They had never seen the kind of huge crowds in their party office in the last three years that Mukul Roy brought with him.”
“This show of strength has energised the cadre on the ground. BJP volunteers, who were earlier scared of coming out in support of the party, now feel confident that if they are targeted by the ruling party, Mukul Roy would save them. The organisation at the booth level is going to be strong in the coming days,” the leader added.
Mukul Roy, the TMC’s founding member who was once considered to be close to Mamata Banerjee, joined the BJP on 3 November, citing the “lack of democracy” in the TMC.