The Mamata Banerjee led-All India Trinamool Congress party recently submitted a letter to the Rajya Sabha secretariat to replace the current chairman of the standing committee on transport, tourism and culture. The letter stated that TMC MP Derek O’Brien will be replacing current chairman Mukul Roy in the House panel. According to Indian Express, while the reconstitution of the party in the month of August is a routine for standing committees, the removal of Roy has sparked speculations once more due to his evident flirtations with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Roy was present in the Parliament at the time when the newly elected Trinamool Congress members of the Upper House took oath on Tuesday, after which they met briefly in the party office. However, Mukul Roy chose not to visit the party office after the oath taking ceremony which sparked off much speculation.
A TMC MP while denying any speculation was happening said, “Parliamentary committees are reconstituted after August as their terms end on August 31. What is there to talk about.” Mukul Roy commented on the conjecture and said, “The question of fighting a by-poll or joining the state cabinet does not arise. It is the prerogative of the party to decide who will be the standing committee chairman.”
Following questioning by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the Saradha case, Mukul Roy spent a long time in isolation within the party. Between February 2015 and December 2016 when Roy made a comeback, there were talks about his defection to the BJP. following which he never got back the same stature, the report stated. Roy is no longer the TMC pointsperson for coordination with other political parties, keeping such a senior person in Delhi may not be in the interest of the party, IE quoted a source saying. However, several other reports say that he may be asked to fight the by-poll from Sabang Assembly seat.