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Mamata’s former confidante Mukul Roy emerges as Bengal BJP’s key poll manager

The municipal elections in the state, likely to be held in April, are widely being seen as the ‘semi-final’ before the 2021 assembly elections.

Updated: Feb 09, 2020 21:25 IST

By Snigdhendu Bhattacharya, Hindustan Times Kolkata

Political observers say Roy’s appointment as the convener of the election management committee for the third time in a row reflects how he has transformed into the Bengal BJP’s election manager and the second most important leader after state president Dilip Ghosh, since joining the party.

After serving as the convenor of the Bengal unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s election management committee for the 2018 panchayat polls and the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Mukul Roy, the former ‘Number 2’ in Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress (TMC), has now been made the convenor of the BJP’s management committee for the 2020 municipal elections, BJP leaders said.

There are over 100 municipal bodies across the state, including the Kolkata Municipal Corporation.

The municipal elections in the state, likely to be held in April, are widely being seen as the ‘semi-final’ before the 2021 assembly elections.

The 58-member municipal election management committee includes state unit president Dilip Ghosh, union ministers Babul Supriyo and Debasree Chaudhuri and national secretary Rahul Sinha, besides members of Lok Sabha, state Assembly and the party’s state unit office-bearers.



“Roy has extensive experience in managing elections. Our party knows how to use the right person in the right role,” Dilip Ghosh said.

Political observers say Roy’s appointment as the convener of the election management committee for the third time in a row reflects how he has transformed into the Bengal BJP’s election manager and the second most important leader after state president Dilip Ghosh, since joining the party little more than two years ago.

“There is no match for Mukul Roy in Bengal BJP when it comes to managing elections, pre-empting TMC’s strategies and having knowledge of the political scenario in every municipal area. Evidently, the BJP central leadership trusts no one over him on this matter,” said psephologist Biswanath Chakraborty, a professor of political science at Rabindra Bharati University.

Mukul Roy joined the BJP in November 2017 and after three months, was appointed as the convener of BJP’s panchayat election management committee. At present, the 65-year-old former railway minister is a member of BJP’s national executive.

A state unit office-bearer of Bengal BJP said, requesting anonymity, that there was no better person than Roy to identify disgruntled TMC leaders who would have a good chance of winning on a BJP’s ticket. “Of Bengal BJP’s 18 Lok Sabha members, four had joined BJP ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, courtesy Mukul Roy,” the BJP leader said.

It was due to Mukul Roy that former TMC mayors of Kolkata and the adjoining Bidhan Nagar municipal corporations switched over to the BJP in 2018.

Maidul Islam, a professor of political science at Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta, said, “In the civic polls, BJP lacks prominent local faces in most municipal areas and would have to depend much more on micro-management.”

Trinamool Congress, however, mocked at the selection. “Those whom we dumped as garbage have become crowns of glory in BJP,” said state food minister Jyoti Priya Mallick.

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