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Ritabrata to join hands with Mukul Roy?

THE ASIAN AGE. | SREEPARNA CHAKRABARTY
Published : Sep 15, 2017, 3:59 am IST
Updated : Sep 15, 2017, 3:59 am IST

Disgruntled TMC leader’s front would likely to be backed by BJP.

Ritabrata Banerjee
 Ritabrata Banerjee

New Delhi: A new political alignment might be in the offing in West Bengal with expelled CPI(M) leader Ritabrata Banerjee likely to join a political outfit that might be floated by disgruntled Trinamul Congress leader Mukul Roy. 

Mr Roy’s political front would most likely be backed by the BJP, which is seeking to make inroads into the state ahead of the 2019 General Elections. 

Though both Mr Roy and Mr Banerjee have been hobnobbing with BJP leaders, they are unlikely to join the party as they want to keep their options open. The BJP also wants to keep its local leadership in West West Bengal in good humour by not foisting outsiders in the party. 

“I will remain an Independent MP. I am not joining anyone. Some are spreading canards that I am joining BJP. That’s a campaign by them. I have been with party for 21 years. Now somebody thinks they don’t need such a cadre,” Mr Banerjee said on Thursday. 

Mukul Roy Mukul Roy

Mr Roy, on his part, has been unhappy since 2015 when he was removed from the post of all India general secretary of Trinamul Congress for his alleged role in the Saradha chit fund scam following which he floated the Nationalist Trinamul Congress (NTC). But in the next year itself, he made an emphatic comeback as the Trinamul Congress vice-president in the run-up to the Assembly polls in 2016. 

When Mr Roy returned as TMC vice-president, his party floated remained a dormant for the last two years. West Bengal chief minister and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee recently removed Mr Roy as the party’s observer for Tripura, where Congress-turned-TMC MLAs have joined the BJP. Sources said it is this party — the NTC — which is likely to be revived to take on the TMC and CPI(M) in West Bengal, and is likely to be backed by the BJP. 

The said party might become a platform for the BJP to take on both the TMC and the Left in Bengal where it is trying to get a strong foothold. 

Interestingly, the summary expulsion of Mr Banerjee lets him retain his Rajya Sabha seat as an unattached member. “This increases his nuisance value,” a senior leader said. 

The 38-year old leader has been in the midst of a bitter feud with the CPI(M) leadership, blaming the Prakash Karat-led faction for his ouster. Seen to be close to CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, his expulsion is seen to have deepened the divide between  the two factions led by Mr Karat and Mr Yechury. 

While speaking to the media, Mr Banerjee has alleged harassment from certain party leaders and is understood to have written a letter to the party general secretary, demanding to know why the party had accessed his bank account details and mobile phone records. 

Sources said though the axe fell on him following his explosive interview to a TV channel, he was very uncomfortable within the party and was pilloried for his lavish lifestyle. 

Tags: ritabrata banerjee, mukul roy, 2019 general elections
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi