Exit Mukul Roy

There was nothing dramatic or sensational about Mukul Roy announcing in Delhi on Wednesday afternoon that he had resigned from the membership of the Rajya Sabha to which he was elected as a representative of the Trinamool Congress (TMC). He had earlier made it known that he was resigning from Parliament and from his party. The resignation was not unexpected either, because it was known for quite some time that his formal severance with the TMC was only a matter of time. He had already been stripped of all party posts and then ‘suspended’ from the primary membership of the party for six years. That he had not made up his mind about the next step he would take was also known. He had himself said unambiguously that it is only after Diwali that he would announce whether he was joining the BJP or opening his own outfit.
Perhaps the intervening period will be spent on mutual consultations between Roy and the top leadership of the BJP as to whether, keeping in view the coming Lok Sabha elections, the BJP’s interests will be best served by Roy straightaway joining the BJP or floating a party as a halfway house before formally joining the BJP. His press conference on Wednesday afternoon left little doubt about his ultimate destination, as he again and again recounted the TMC’s past record of joining the NDA Government and having kept close relations with the RSS. He reminded everyone that the TMC was born to oppose the Congress and its mega corruptions. Having any alliance with the Congress will negate the raison d’etre of the TMC. These are the usual excuses given by a senior functionary of a political party while quitting the party.
The likely impact of Roy’s quitting the TMC on the electoral fortunes of the party is all that matters politically. Roy was no doubt once a top functionary of the party and a close lieutenant of the party supremo. He knows the organization of the TMC down to the grassroots level. But the simple question is, is the persona of Roy bigger and weightier than that of his former leader, Mamata Banerjee? Without Mamata Banerjee, what will be the worth of Mukul Roy in the eyes of the people of Bengal? How much can he damage the party and help the BJP to win Bengal? Not much, many would agree. Roy can only have a transient value for the BJP. In the eyes of the people of Bengal, the TMC is synonymous with Mamata Banerjee. Without her, others count for little.

Thursday, 12 October, 2017