On Friday last, Mukul Roy wore a scarf with lotuses to signal his change of political affiliation as he joined the BJP in Delhi and said the people of West Bengal are tired of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress. They are looking for alternatives, he said and asserted that there will be a BJP government in West Bengal by 2021.
It's a promise that the BJP will hold Mr Roy to. His induction despite being named along with other Trinamool Congress leaders in the Saradha and Narada scam cases is seen as attempt by the BJP to dent the state's ruling party in its attempt to make bigger inroads into West Bengal.
The Trinamool Congress has said the defection of Mukul Roy, once seen as Mamata Banerjee's number 2 in the party, will make no difference.
BJP leaders, however, said the Mukul Roy effect is evidenced by the transfer on Saturday of a top cop who served as his officer on special duty when Mr Roy was union railway minister in 2012. Mamata Banerjee, who also is Bengal's home minister, transferred Dr Rajesh Kumar, the head of the state police's criminal investigation department (CID), to the pollution control board.
As head of the state CID, Dr Kumar had been handed key cases, including an investigation into the death of a police inspector in an alleged encounter on October 13 and tracking down Bimal Gurung, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leader now on the run from the police in several cases registered by the state government.
Dr Kumar's transfer also coincided with the Centre initiating an investigation by the elite National Investigation Agency or NIA in several cases in Darjeeling, including the inspector's death and the cases against Bimal Gurung, who has welcomed the central agency probe. The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha is an ally of the BJP.
The Trinamool has not publicly reacted to the NIA team visiting Darjeeling to begin its probe.