Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Deb (Image: Twitter/@BjpBiplab)
The Trinamool Congress (TMC) is reaching out to ‘rebels’ in the Tripura unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), nearly seven weeks after the Mamata Banerjee-led party stormed to power in West Bengal.
Mukul Roy, who recently returned back to the TMC fold from the BJP where he was the national vice president, is said to be in touch with the ‘dissenting’ BJP legislators, triggering reports of a possible new political realignment in the north-eastern state.
Roy is said to have once helped the TMC expand in the Northeast earlier as well.
READ: BJP Vice President Mukul Roy, son Subhranshu join TMC in presence of West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata
The two leaders met local party leaders and MLAs on June 17, as well.
For quite some time now, speculation is rife that a group of BJP MLAs led by former health minister Sudip Roy Barman, who had left TMC for the BJP in 2017, were planning to go back to Mamata Banerjee’s party.
The saffron party has, however, said that all is well. BJP’s Tripura president Manik Saha said on Jun 17 that all differences that may have existed in the unit were sorted.
“BJP leaders have no dispute among themselves. We are a family. In any family, differences can crop up, which are resolved. I think all issues have now been 100 percent sorted out.” Saha was quoted saying in a report in Indian Express
The BJP has claimed that the leaders from Delhi visited Tripura as part of preparations for the next assembly election which is two years away. The party also said that the Central leadership has addressed issues raised by the disgruntled BJP leaders.
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In 2016, Mukul Roy was behind bringing six Tripura MLAs from the Congress to the TMC fold soon after the Congress tied up with the Left in West Bengal. Later, Roy was instrumental in bringing the six MLAs to the BJP.
The TMC has announced its expansion ambitions soon after winning the West Bengal assembly polls, the results of which were announced on May 2. And, the Bengali-majority Tripura is considered one of the most fertile states outside West Bengal for the party.
In October, Barman, considered close to Mukul Roy, had led a group of BJP MLAs from the 36 in the 60-member Tripura Assembly to Delhi seeking a leadership change in Tripura government led by Chief Minister Biplab Deb. The group had claimed to have the support of nine MLAs.
“We are about 12 MLAs who have apprised the party leadership about dictatorship and poor governance of the CM, which in turn has made the party very unpopular,” Barman had said in October.
Barman, son of former Tripura Chief Minister Samir Ranjan Barman, was sidelined and removed from Deb’s ministry indicating that the BJP did not pay heed to his grievances.
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Sources said that there at least 15 MLAs, including some legislators of the BJP’s alliance partner, in the rebel group christened as “reformist.”
The BJP has 36 MLAs’ in Tripura while its ally Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) has 8 MLAs. The CPI (M) has 16 legislators in the 60-member House.
The Mamata Banerjee-led party had recently released a video song ‘Khela Hobe Khela Hobe Tripura Te Khela Hobe (the game is on in Tripura)’ in a tweak to the song that the party had used during the campaign in West Bengal.