West Bengal MLA Mukul Roy, who had joined the Trinamool Congress days after winning the assembly election seat on BJP ticket, stirred fresh controversy on Friday by saying for the second time within a week that the saffron party will win a future by-election in his constituency.
He, however, said that the TMC will do well in the 2023 assembly elections in Tripura.
Senior TMC leader Tapas Roy refused to comment on Roy's gaffe, while the BJP said that the people will judge such statements. Mukul Roy on August 6 had said in a press conference at Krishnanagar in Nadia district that the BJP will win the by-poll in the state. Realising his faux pas, he quickly corrected himself saying he actually meant the TMC.
The senior politician had left the Mamata Banerjee-led party in 2017 to join the BJP and returned to the TMC around a month after the results of the assembly elections were declared on May 2.
However, officially he is still the BJP MLA of Krishnanagar North constituency and has been made the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the state Assembly. 'The BJP will win if a by-election is held in Krishnanagar North,' Roy told reporters after attending a PAC meeting in the assembly premises.
To a question if the TMC will not be able to win the seat, he said it will be decided by the people of that constituency.
Asked he was the legislator of which party, Roy said, 'I am an MLA of the BJP.' Roy said he is ready to visit Tripura to work for the TMC if asked by the party.
'I will do whatever is told by the party. The BJP is not doing the right thing in Tripura. Our party will do well in the next polls there,' he added.
At least 14 leaders and workers of the TMC, including those injured in an alleged attack by BJP workers, were arrested in Tripura on August 8 for 'violating Covid norms'. Two other TMC workers were nabbed on August 11.
Senior TMC leaders from West Bengal are of late visiting the NE state where the assembly election is due in 2023.
Asked to comment on Roy's statements, TMC Deputy Chief Whip in West Bengal assembly Tapas Roy told reporters: 'It will be proper for you to ask Mukul Roy what he meant. Since I was not present during the interaction, I won't comment.' Tapas Roy said that he attended Friday's PAC meeting chaired by Mukul Roy.
BJP MLA and leader of the opposition Suvendu Adhikari said Roy was greeted with much fanfare when he reached the TMC office to join after winning on BJP ticket.
'Now if he makes such statements, it is for people of the state to judge. He was accorded high security by the state government, he was made the PAC chairman. Now let the TMC see,' he said.
The BJP has demanded disqualification of Roy as a member of the assembly under anti-defection law and his removal from the post of PAC chairman which traditionally goes to the opposition party.
The TMC leadership has been saying that Roy is a BJP MLA and hence his appointment as the PAC chairman won't pose any problem on technical ground.