Ex-TMC heavyweight Mukul Roy joins BJP, calls it secular party

Ex-TMC heavyweight Mukul Roy joins BJP, calls it secular party

"Happy to inform that Mukul Roy is joining BJP, we welcome him", senior party leader an union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said at a press conference.

Roy had resigned from the Rajya Sabha and quit the TMC earlier this month.

Former Trinamool Congress leader Mukul Roy on Friday joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in New Delhi.

Union minister Ravishankar Prasad, who handed the membership certificate to Mr Roy at the BJP headquarters, said the latter had a big role in establishing the TMC.

"The BJP is not a communal force, but a secular one". It remains to be seen whether Roy can bring about some changes that will help BJP emerge stronger in West Bengal.

Earlier, Mr Roy was considered as the second-in-command in the Mamata Banerjee-led TMC. Also, he predicted that the saffron party will come to power in West Bengal in the next elections under Narendra Modi-Amit Shah leadership. "His experience will benefit us immensely", Ravi Shankar Prasad said. Last month, Roy was suspended from the TMC for six years for indulging in anti-party activities after he announced that he would quit the party.

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Cracks had begun to surface in the relationship between Roy and Banerjee with the rise of her nephew Abhishek Banerjee as the next generation leader of the party. Elections in West Bengal are expected to be held in 2021.

"He may also be involved in Odisha, another eastern state bordering Bengal", a BJP source said. Sometimes Trinamool Congress is with the BJP, sometimes they are with the Congress.

BJP chief Amit Shah was not on the dais when Roy joined the party.

In him, BJP might have got an organisational man who has a reach deep inside the TMC - this is probably why Roy was inducted into the party rather than being encouraged to set up his own outfit and ally with the NDA.

The Congress said Roy had a compulsion to join the BJP as he had been an accused in both the Saradha and Narada scams. "He will act as a bridge between the BJP and the Trinamool", said Omprakash Mishra, AICC member and a general secretary of the Congress in Bengal.

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