Kolkata, Sep 25 (IANS) Senior Trinamool Congress leader Mukul Roy, once the right hand man of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, on Monday announced his decision to quit the party, which hit back by suspending him for six years.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) meanwhile denied that Roy was set to join its fold.
Addressing a hurriedly convened media meet here, Roy said he would resign as the primary party member and also from his Rajya Sabha seat after the Durga Puja which concludes on September 30.
“With a heavy heart and pain, I am informing you that I have taken a principled decision. I am not an office-bearer in the party now… I will mail my resignation from the party working committee today itself.
“I’ll quit as Rajya Sabha member after the Durga Puja break. I will also quit my primary membership of the Trinamool after a few days,” he added.
Refusing to divulge more details, Roy said he would explain the reasons for his decision later.
“Today is panchami. People of Bengal and in the rest of India are in a festive mood. People will not accept it if I say these things now,” said the former Railway Minister.
Roy, one of the founding members of the Trinamool, also recalled that he was the first signatory for the party on December 17, 1997, during the its formation process.
Trinamool officially came into being on January 1, 1998.
Hours after Roy’s announcement, the Trinamool slapped a six-year suspension on him for “indulging in anti-party activities”.
“For the past few years, he has been indulging in anti-party activities and trying to weaken the party from within.. to serve his own interest .
“Trinamool Congress disciplinary committee has recommended punishment against Mukul Roy to the party’s leader and chairperson Mamata Banerjee. Accordingly, Roy has been suspended for six years from the party,” said Trinamool Secretary General Partha Chatterjee.
Accusing Roy of “succumbing to the pressure of the central agencies” – a reference to the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate probing the Saradha chit fund scam and the Narada sting footage, in both of which Roy has been interrogated – Chatterjee wondered why he has not resigned his Rajya Sabha seat immediately.
“We want him to resign (now)… if he has decided to resign after puja, let him resign right now. The puja festival will not be stalled if he puts in his papers now,” he said.
Asserting that the party was not concerned over Roy’s decision to quit, Chatterjee said: “The party and the state is united. We have full confidence in (party supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister) Mamata Banerjee.”
Meanwhile, the BJP said there was no proposal about Roy joining its fold.
“There is no proposal about Mukul Roy joining BJP. I think many people in Trinamool will not remain in the party for long because of corruption within the party and the way Mamata Banerjee and her nephew Abhisek Banerjee run it,” said BJP leader Siddharth Nath Singh said.
AOn the other hand, Roy’s son Subhranshu Roy, a Trinamool MLA from Bjipur, said he was “very much in the party, and would continue to be in it”.
Completely sidelined in the party for months, speculation about Roy quitting the Trinamool was rife for weeks, as he gradually distanced himself from it, and was said to be scouting for a new political innings with some other party, particularly the BJP.
Roy had wielded enormous clout as the party’s all powerful national General Secretary for decades since its formation, and was widely regarded the main architect of its electoral successes.
Known for his composure, shrewdness and organisational ability, Roy even purportedly called the shots with regard to promotions and postings of key administrative and police officers after the party came to power in the state in 2011
Roy’s formal announcement of snapping ties with the Trinamool came three days Chatterjee warned for “hobnobbing with the BJP” and said “we are keeping a close watch on him”.
Last week, Roy sent back the state police personnel providing him Z category security cover after Banerjee, in an organisational reshuffle, abolished the Vice President’s post he had been holding for over a year.
He was also kept away from several party programmes and sacked as the party in-charge of Tripura.