Mukul Roy Exits Trinamool Congress, Turbulence Expected Ahead

With the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate breathing down the Trinamool's neck and Mukul Roy a man who knows all skeletons in the party's cupboards, the Trinamool could be headed for turbulence.

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Mukul Roy Exits Trinamool Congress, Turbulence Expected Ahead

Mukul Roy was in regular touch with several BJP leaders.


Kolkata:  The Trinamool Congress today lost a man they called Chanakya - Mukul Roy, strategist and schemer, who helped Mamata Banerjee make the most of her charismatic leadership. A sitting Rajya Sabha MP and a former railway minister, Mr Roy said today he will quit parliament and the party next month. The Trinamool promptly suspended him for six years for hobnobbing with the BJP.

With the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate breathing down the Trinamool's neck and Mukul Roy a man who knows all skeletons in the party's cupboards, the Trinamool could be headed for turbulence.

Senior BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya has already reportedly said, "We will talk to Mukul Roy."

"With a heavy heart, I am announcing I am resigning from Trinamool's working committee today," Mr Roy told a press meet in Kolkata. "After the Durga Pujas, I will resign as Rajya Sabha MP and from the party's primary membership on the same day," he added.

He would also explain on that day, he said, why he was quitting the party of which he was a founder member on December 17, 1997.

His bridges with the Trinamool burnt, Mr Roy retired to his office to talk cricket and how, in cricket and in politics, you must know the pitch.

"Will it generate pace? Will the pitch turn after two hours? You have to understand the pitch," he said. "Because you didn't understand, your score fell in five years from 52 to 7," he added.  

Famed for speaking in riddles, his aides explained it was a reference to Trinamool leader Partha Chatterjee's victory margin which apparently fell from 52,000 in 2011 to 7,000 in 2016. 

But does Mukul Roy have a cricket team or is he going solo? That today is the Trinamool's biggest worry. Ever since he fell out with Mamata Banerjee, the Trinamool worried Mr Roy would exit and not alone.  

Where to was never in doubt - the BJP, say party sources. Mukul Roy was in regular touch with several BJP leaders. The CBI has quizzed him twice, for the Saradha scam and the Narada sting. Trinamool top brass say they suspect he would strike a deal to save his own skin but sell others down the river. 

"Under pressure from central agencies, for his own self-interest, Mukul Roy was trying to hurt the party from within. He was hobnobbing with the BJP. For these anti-party activities, Mukul Roy is being suspended for six years," announced Partha Chatterjee, Trinamool's secretary general, at a press meet called earlier than Mr Roy but held in the afternoon.

Are there concerns about other Trinamool leaders or workers following Mr Roy's footsteps? "We have no concern. The party is united, the state is united. We have full confidence in Mamata Banerjee," Mr Chatterjee said.  

In fact, Mukul Roy's son, Subhrangshu, who is a Trinamool legislator from Bijpur, has said, "I was with Mamata Banerjee, am with her and will be with her." 

And why the Mamata Banerjee-Mukul Roy fallout? It started after Mr Roy was summoned by the CBI in the Saradha case and the Trinamool was suspicious of what he had told the central agency. But, say party insiders, the long and short answer to that question is the rise and rise of the nephew, Abhishek Banerjee, who has replaced Mr Roy's men with his own as the second rung in the party.

The BJP is watching the drama unfold with glee.

Just yesterday, Mr Roy went to inaugurate a Durga Puja pandal in north Kolkata where the other guest of honour was another suspended Trinamool MP, Kunal Ghosh, out on bail after several years behind bars for links to Ponzi schemes.


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