Mukul Roy’s en­try can be a game changer for BJP in Ben­gal. A poll strate­gist par ex­cel­lence, he is known for his or­gan­i­sa­tional skills. He is con­sid­ered as one of the men who built Tri­namool.

The Sunday Guardian - - Front Page - JOYEETA BASU KOLKATA/NEW DELHI

Pol­i­tics in West Ben­gal is set to un­dergo tec­tonic shifts that will im­pact the po­lit­i­cal future of Chief Min­is­ter Ma­mata Ban­er­jee. The BJP cen­tral lead­er­ship has, ac­cord­ing to po­lit­i­cal heavy­weights in the state, put into op­er­a­tion a plan by which the party in­tends to win over big guns of the state’s rul­ing Tri­namool Congress. These lead­ers will then join hands with the BJP to take on the Tri­namool gov­ern­ment in the Lok Sabha elec­tions of 2019 and the As­sem­bly elec­tions of 2021. The Tri­namool lead­ers that the BJP wants in its fold, ac­cord­ing to sources in the state unit of the na­tional party, are Su­vendu Ad­hikari, Sau­gata Roy and Bratya Basu, among oth­ers. Ad­hikari, the Trans­port Min­is­ter in the Ban­er­jee gov­ern­ment, is one of the most in­flu­en­tial lead­ers in the state, with com­plete sway over at least two im­por­tant dis­tricts of West and East Me­dinipur that ac­count for 35 As­sem­bly and five Lok Sabha seats. He was the ar­chi­tect of the Tri­namool’s suc­cess­ful ag­i­ta­tion in Nandi­gram around 2007, which trig­gered the CPM’s downfall in Ben­gal. Highly placed sources claimed that the BJP lead­er­ship wants Ad­hikari, who is in his mid-40s, to be the face of their cam­paign in Ben­gal. Sau­gata Roy, who is the brother of Tripura Gover­nor Tatha­gata Roy, is MP from Dum Dum, while Bratya Basu is In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy and Elec­tron­ics Min­is­ter. An­other Tri­namool heavy­weight, Mukul Roy, has al­ready re­signed from the work­ing com­mit­tee of the party and is set to re­sign from the Ra­jya Sabha next week. Sources in the state unit of the BJP claim that he will join their party soon. From the Congress, the BJP wants Ad­hir Ran­jan Chowd­hury in its fold. Chowd­hury, who was a min­is­ter in the Man­mo­han Singh gov­ern­ment and is at present MP and Ben­gal Pradesh Congress Com­mit­tee president, is one of the big­gest names in state pol­i­tics. An MP from Ba­haram­pur in Mur­shid­abad dis­trict, he is in­flu­en­tial in both his own dis­trict and in ad­ja­cent Nadia. The other Congress leader that the BJP wants is an­other grass­roots politi­cian, Shankar Malakar, MLA from Mati­gara-Nax­al­bari in north Ben­gal. In ad­di­tion, sources claim that CPM’s for­mer leader, the young Ritabrata Ban­er­jee is about to join BJP.

The BJP is hope­ful that if it is able to con­vince these lead­ers to cross over, more than a hand­ful of Tri­namool

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