Why should they fear Mukul Roy?

The high profile entry of former Rajya Sabha MP and Trinamul Congress (TMC) leader to Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) last week did not affect either party cadres or top leaders of the party.

Though it is a fact that once Mukul Roy was a trusted lieutenant of Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, he was the political advisor and also an election strategist of the party. Roy was the ‘head’ of the party while Mamata Banerjee is the ‘heart’ of the party. But now the political landscape has changed completely.

Debasish Jana, mayor-in-council of  Bidhannagar Corporation feels that Mukul Roy’s exit will not have any negative effect on the vote bank.  “The charisma of Mamata Banerjee will not fade. It took her many years of struggle to achieve it. Moreover, the work of development is the last and final word,” said Jana.

When asked whether Roy as a leader and an election strategist who understood the science of election would ever be replaced, Jana said "no one is indispensible".

Another TMC leader, under  condition of anonymity said that there is actually no reason to worry. “Any political party cannot have a single person who is in charge of running the election machinery or who understands the science of election. There is always a group doing it. So Roy’s exit has no effect nor  has it demoralised party workers” said the leader.

“People of Bengal have witnessed the development that the present government has delivered. Projects like Kanyashree, Khaddoshree, Sabuj Sathi have been so successful. Distributing test papers to students of Class X or giving text books to those who are in need are a good work.

"Will not people bless her again?”  asked Shanti Guchhait, a party worker of Duttabad area of Bidhannagar Corporation.

And according to party insiders, Mukul Roy’s son Subhrangshu Roy, who is a TMC MLA would be pitted against the senior Roy.  Junior Roy would be used by the party to address gatherings not only in Kanchrapara and Halisahar but also in other parts of the state where TMC will organise anti-BJP meetings.

According to another party insider,  the senior Roy spoke against BJP on August 9. “And now after three months he will speak against TMC. He has lost his credibility. People of Bengal will never take him seriously.”

Political analyst Biswanath Chakraborty, who teaches political science at Rabindra Bharati University feels that entry of Mukul Roy in BJP will not have any immediate effect on ruling TMC.

“But BJP will have a long term advantage. In BJP there is dearth of an election strategist. Apart from the late leader Tapan Sikdar, there is no one at present who understands electoral politics.  And in this regard, Roy is an expert. During his tenure in TMC, he was the sole person who took care of it. So Roy will fill up that important gap in BJP.  So for BJP Roy is an asset,” said Chakraborty.

The second important thing that Chakraborty pointed out is the fact that initial days at BJP will be important for Roy. “Adaptability is the key word now for Roy. How well he adapts to the new surrounding and how other leaders of BJP welcomes him is important.  If his landing is smooth, and his rehabilitation is great,  then in the near future, many leaders of state Congress, TMC and Left Front might join BJP. And if the scenario is different,  then BJP will have a tough time  making footprints in Bengal,” said Chakraborty.

However another political analyst Bijan Sarkar feels that BJP will have a tough time.  “Mamata Banerjee can make 100 such Mukul Roys but Roy cannot create a single Mamata Banerjee.  Some political leaders feel that if one has many fan following or party cadres,  then they are powerful enough to change the political landscape little realising that the original power to change the mandate lies with the common mass,” said Sarkar who teaches in a higher secondary school.

Many BJP leaders who are dissatisfied with the party machinery might leave BJP and join TMC. There are many groups inside the party. “Rahul Sinha’s group and there is Dilip Sarkar’s group and inter-rivalry reigns supreme. So anything can happen,” said Sarkar.

On Nov 5 state BJP secretary Dilip Ghosh had compared Mukul Roy with chutney. “It means that Mukul Roy’s presence in BJP is not of much  importance. Chutney is not a main course food. It can be treated as a side dish, for  people might or might not have it as per their choice,” said Sarkar.

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