TMC veteran Tapas Roy quits party, assembly seat citing corruption, Sandeshkhali | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

TMC veteran Tapas Roy quits party, assembly seat citing corruption, Sandeshkhali

Mar 04, 2024 08:16 PM IST

Tapas Roy, whose name never surfaced in any corruption case, is a three-time winner from North 24 Parganas district’s Baranagar seat

Kolkata: Senior Trinamool Congress leader and former minister Tapas Roy resigned from the West Bengal legislative assembly on Monday amid indications that he may soon join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and contest against the ruling party in the coming Lok Sabha polls.

Trinamool Congress leader, Tapas Roy. (File photo.)
Trinamool Congress leader, Tapas Roy. (File photo.)

“I resigned from TMC’s primary membership and all government offices on March 1,” Roy told the media after stepping down as legislator. He was the TMC’s deputy chief whip in the current assembly.

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Roy, whose name never surfaced in any corruption case, is a three-time winner from North 24 Parganas district’s Baranagar, which is a part of the Dum Dum Lok Sabha seat held by TMC’s Saugata Roy since 2009.

Mamata Banerjee, 69, who founded TMC in 1998, and Roy, 67, were earlier in the Congress where both served as state president of the youth wing. Roy became a Congress MLA for the first time in Kolkata in 1996 and won his second assembly seat for TMC in 2001.

Also Read: Calcutta HC judge Abhijit Gangopadhyay to resign on Tuesday, says will join politics

TMC, however, never fielded Roy from any of the Lok Sabha seats in Kolkata or North 24 Parganas after it came to power in 2011.

Claiming that back-to-back corruption cases against ruling party leaders and the recent Sandeshkhali incident has made him uncomfortable, Roy said he was shocked to see the chief minister defending Sandeshkhali’s TMC leader Sheikh Shahjahan on the floor of the legislative assembly on February 15 but not condemning the January 12 Enforcement Directorate raid at his home in Kolkata.

“Outsiders were brought in to spread tension in the area. The target was Sheikh Shahjahan. ED first entered the area targeting him. After ousting everyone they created a rift between the local tribal and minority population,” Banerjee told the assembly during the budget session.

Accused by villagers at Sandeshkhali in North 24 Parganas district of grabbing farmland and sexually assaulting women, Shahjahan, who was being hunted by ED since January 5 in a money laundering case, was arrested by state police on February 28.

“On January 12, people from my own party sent the ED team to raid my home. Some MPs and MLAs were overjoyed. I still don’t know why the ED came. I expected the chief minister to at least call up my traumatised wife or daughter to inquire. I am grateful to BJP, Left and Congress leaders for expressing their solidarity with me. The chief minister defended Sheikh Shahjahan at the assembly but did not utter a word to condemn the ED raid at my place,” Roy told media.

“I will not comment on what I plan to do next,” Roy said after submitting his resignation letter to assembly speaker Biman Banerjee.

“I will announce my decision tomorrow. Many people join other parties. He did the right thing by resigning from the assembly first,” the speaker said.

Amid strong speculations that the saffron camo may field Roy from the Kolkata North seat against TMC heavyweight Sudip Bandopadhyay, 75, BJP state president Sukanta Majumdar said: “Politics is a game of possibilities. I cannot say anything right now but can assure that TMC’s political equations will change drastically across Bengal very soon.”

Last week, Roy and TMC leader Kunal Ghosh targeted Bandopadhyay alleging that he always worked for BJP. Both named the MP on record.

“Sudip Bandopadhyay sent the ED team to raid my home because I am rising in the north Kolkata region,” Roy said on March 2.

Also Read: TMC’s Sheikh Shahjahan nabbed at last after high court push

A day later, Ghosh, an accused in the Saradha chit fund case, wrote a social media post tagging the ED and demanded a probe against Bandopadhayay who is an accused in the Rose Valley chit fund case. Ghosh also resigned from the posts of state general secretary and party spokesperson.

TMC sent a show cause notice to Ghosh on Monday shortly after he met Roy at the latter’s residence. Education minister Bratya Basu also went there to dissuade Roy from quitting.

Bandopadhyay did not comment on any of the developments but Ghosh said the MP invited him for “a cup of tea” at his residence on Monday evening.

TMC Lok Sabha member Kalyan Banerjee alleged that it was Roy who tried to create divisions in the party.

“There are no divisions in TMC. Tapas Roy created all the trouble and pressured the party to field him from Kolkata North. Let the rotten apples leave,” Banerjee said.

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