‘Operation Return of the Prodigal’ has only just started, said Trinamool Congress leader and Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, after Mukul Roy, the BJP’s first import from Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress in Bengal, returned to his former party Friday along with his son Shubhranshu. She said that more leaders were on their way back to the mothership.
“Ghorer chhele ghore phirlo (Mukul has returned home),” said Mamata Banerjee. He was never a traitor like the others, she stressed.
After his re-entry into the party, Roy said: “I feel great at seeing my old colleagues, after leaving the BJP. I can’t be in the BJP.” He described the Chief Minister as “the only leader of Bengal and India”.
To the uncomfortable question of his repeated attacks on “Didi” in the past, Roy replied: “I never had any differences with Mamata Banerjee.”
Roy drove to the Trinamool Bhawan an hour before the press conference and reportedly walked to his old room in the building that he left in 2017.
‘Operation Return of the Prodigal has only just started, more leaders were on their way back to the mothership,’ Mamata Banerjee hinted.
A founder member
Mukul Roy, a founder member of the Trinamool, was its General Secretary when he quit; the post has now gone to the Chief Minister’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee, who first reached out to Roy and his family.
Abhishek Banerjee last week visited Roy at the hospital where his wife is admitted. The very next day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reportedly spoke to Roy on the phone to ask about his wife’s health, reflecting the BJP’s nervousness.
The homecoming of its leaders, including those who switched just before the April-May Bengal election, is part of the Trinamool’s forward planning for 2024. Its goal is to prevent a repeat of 2019 when the BJP scored big gains at the Trinamool’s cost.