The Trinamool Congress leadership today mocked suspended leader Mukul Roy for making “desperate attempts to please the BJP” and said the party had aligned with the BJP in 1998 as the then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had rose above party politics to lead the nation. No one should confuse a statesman like Vajpayee with Prime Minister Narendra Modi or BJP president Amit Shah, TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee said. “Yes we were part of the BJP-led NDA from 1998. But that was a different time. The NDA was then led by a statesman like Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who rose above party politics to lead the nation by taking along all castes, creeds and religions. He was a secular person. I want to ask can anybody put Atal Bihari Vajpayee and present prime minister Narendra Modi in the same bracket,” Chatterjee said. “We had joined hands (with BJP) because of the secular leadership of Vajpayee. The day we understood that Vajpayee is no longer leading BJP and NDA, we parted ways. Then also we had fought against communalism and now too we are fighting against it,” he said. Roy had yesterday termed the BJP as a secular party and said the TMC would not have tasted success without its backing at the national level during the initial years.
Terming Roy as a “traitor trying to weaken the party”, Chatterjee questioned, “Why is he making such statements now? Why he didn’t say such things when he was in the party, when he was made the railways minister? Actually he is making desperate attempts to please the BJP and get into its good books. We called him a traitor and he himself proved it.” Chatterjee challenged Roy to contest elections from any assembly seat in the state. “Instead of making such comments like a traitor, why doesn’t he contest election from any of the 294 assembly seats in Bengal? We will see if he is able to win it. He is no one without the support of Mamata Banerjee,” Chatterjee said.
Once the second-in-command in the TMC after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Roy has been suspended for six years for “anti-party activities” after he said on September 25 that he would resign from the party after Durga Puja. He has been maintaining distance with the party leadership for the last few months and was removed as the TMC vice-president after the party decided to revamp its structure. He was earlier removed as the party’s in-charge of Tripura where the TMC was steadily making inroads till its members switched over to the BJP earlier this year.