‘Roy is into strategizing, but Adhikari will bring the TMC votes into BJP fold’.

 

New Delhi: The impending entry of TMC strongman Suvendu Adhikari into the BJP has led to some heartburn among a few state BJP leaders from the Mukul Roy camp over the importance being given to Adhikari.

Till now, Roy was considered as the biggest former TMC leader who had joined the BJP. However, now that Adhikari, who resigned from his MLA seat from Tamluk, has joined the BJP, he will become the biggest catch because of the sheer number of his followers that he and his close family, all of who are in politics, command in several districts including Nadia, East Medinipur, West Medinipur, Jangalmahal region and parts of Purulia district which have close to 50 Assembly seats.

Political observers following West Bengal said that while Roy is into “strategizing”, Adhikari is the one who will bring TMC votes into the BJP fold. However, it is also a fact that Mukul Roy has played a major role in ensuring Suvendu’s entry into BJP.

The Adhikaris (Suvendu’s younger brother Dibyendu is a Lok Sabha member from Tamluk; another brother, Soumendu is chairman of Contai municipality; their father Sisir has been a Lok sabha member and an MLA) command a large voter base in their area, which translates into winning several Assembly seats.

Delhi-based BJP leaders said that some level of unhappiness in the Roy camp over including Adhikari into the party was expected. “Both of them have different kinds of utility to the party, both are experienced leaders. Roy has already been given a prominent place in the party hierarchy and hence he, like any disciplined party leader, will accept whatever the party plans for Adhikari once he joins,” a BJP party strategist said ahead of Suvendu Adhikari joining the party in Saturday. Roy was appointed as the national vice president of the BJP in September, which ended his “displeasure” with the BJP over his apparent “sidelining”.

“Also, Roy does not have any other political option but to ensure that he takes everyone along, keeping aside his personal differences and ensuring that BJP does well in the elections. If the party leadership thinks that he is sabotaging the party’s interest, he will be in trouble as he cannot go back to the TMC. His son’s political settlement is Roy’s biggest concern right now,” the leader added.

Incidentally, both these leaders have been accused in the Saradha scam and both have been questioned by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Also, Mukul Roy and Suvendu Adhikari have a long history of rivalry, although Roy, a backroom leader, has been one of the biggest votaries of Adhikari’s induction in the BJP ever since he himself shifted from the TMC to the BJP in 2018.

In February 2012, Adhikari, who was a TMC MP and chairman of Haldia Development Authority, had attacked the shipping ministry for taking an “indifferent attitude” on the issue of dredging of navigation channels at Haldia Port. The comments were aimed at Roy, who was the MoS at the Ministry of Shipping at the time.

In June 2012, Roy played an instrumental role in ensuring the defeat of Adhikari in the Haldia municipality polls. In June 2014, Adhikari’s supporters had burnt Roy’s effigy after Mamata Banerjee carried out an organizational change in the party, on the directions of Roy, which weakened Adhiakri’s position in the party.

Later, in September 2014, Adhikari retaliated to Roy’s maneuvering by ensuring that no one turned up to hear Mukul Roy when he addressed a rally in Adhikari’s parliamentary constituency, Tamluk.

A furious Roy had later called Adhikari one of the many “greenhorns” who had been with Mamata Banerjee when she was expelled from the Congress in 1997. Later, Adhikari took a swipe at the “popularity” of Roy while referring to the almost negligible attendance at his rally which was organised by Trinamool Youth Congress.