Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to West Bengal BJP leader Mukul Roy, whose wife is being treated for COVID-19 in a Kolkata hospital, on Thursday.
The two-minute conversation triggered political speculation in the state because it came after Trinamool Congress leader and MP Abhishek Banerjee’s visit to the hospital.
During his visit Abhishek – nephew of Trinamool leader and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee – briefly met Roy’s son Subhranshu – who also defected to the BJP – and inquired about his mother’s health.
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Soon after his visit, Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh also arrived at the hospital. “He [Abhishek Banerjee] is previously known to him [Mukul Roy] and so it is not surprising that he has come to see his ailing wife. I don’t feel there is anything to speculate about,” Ghosh later told the media.
Mukul Roy was one of the early and more prominent defectors from the Trinamool to the BJP. The BJP’s humiliating loss in the recent West Bengal election has led many Trinamool defectors to consider returning to the party, according to reports.
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Mukul Roy won the Krishnanagar North seat in Nadia district in the assembly election. Subhranshu, who joined the BJP last year, lost from Bijpur in North 24 Parganas.
Mukul Roy one of the founders of the TMC, was suspended from the party for six years in September 2017. He quit the party and the Rajya Sabha the following month and joined the BJP in November 2017. Roy was the BJP’s lead election strategist for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls in Bengal, when the BJP won 18 of the state’s 42 seats.
He is an accused in the Narada sting operation and is being investigated by central agencies.