Mukul Roy joins BJP, calls it 'secular' force

Mukul Roy joins BJP, calls it 'secular' force

Addressing a media conference at the BJP headquarter in New Delhi, BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said, "Mukul Roy has played an important role in strengthening Trinamool Congress".

Roy quit the TMC in October and resigned from Rajya Sabha membership after a fallout with party chief Banerjee. Many were quick to conclude that Roy joining the BJP after Narayan Rane- both accused of corruption- conclusively established the opposition charges that the saffron party was not serious on corruption.

Asked about the corruption allegations against Roy, Mr Ghosh said, "There can be allegations against anybody, but until and unless they are proved, how can you call someone guilty?" The BJP isn't a communal force that the Trinamool Congress claims it is, Roy said.

Speaking to reporters, Roy said, "I have joined the BJP today, I am very much confident".

Earlier, Mr Roy was considered as the second-in-command in the Mamata Banerjee-led TMC. "No one has the political shrewdness and networking on the ground like Mukul Roy in West Bengal. His experience will benefit us immensely", Ravi Shankar Prasad said. After quitting from TMC, Roy had said members in a party "should be comrades and not servants". He fell out with Mamta following differences over the growing influence of her nephew Abhishek Banerjee within the party.

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Also, he could be given charge of some states and few key tasks in West Bengal.

Roy told journalists on Friday that "restoring democracy" in West Bengal would be his priority.

In him, BJP might have got an organisational man who has a reach deep inside the TMC - this is probably why Roy was inducted into the party rather than being encouraged to set up his own outfit and ally with the NDA.

The CPI (M), however, viewed the development as a tacit understanding between the TMC and the BJP. The Bengal units of CPI (M) and Congress were critical of Roy's move. "He will act as a bridge between the BJP and the Trinamool", said Omprakash Mishra, AICC member and a general secretary of the Congress in Bengal.

BJP chief Amit Shah was not on the dais when Roy joined the party.

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