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BJP’s Rajib Banerjee Meets TMC Leader, Calls it ‘Courtesy Call’ Amid Speculation of Return

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A day after Mukul Roy joined Trinamool Congress leaving BJP, former West Bengal minister Rajib Banerjee, who had moved to the saffron party only months before the assembly elections, met TMC leader Kunal Ghosh on Saturday fuelling speculations of his return to the old party. Banerjee, who unsuccessfully fought the elections on BJP ticket from Domjur, went to state TMC general secretary Kunal Ghosh residence in the northern part of the city where the two had long meeting which later both described as a “courtesy call”.

“Please do not try to look into this as something different. I had come to see one of my relatives who is staying in the same locality of Kunalda’s. This is nothing but a courtesy call. There was no political talk between us,” Banerjee told reporters while coming out of Ghosh’s home.

Ghosh also echoed similar views. Though the two said that not much should be read into the meeting, speculations are rife that many TMC leaders who had crossed over to the saffron party before assembly polls are waiting for an opportunity to return to the parent party.

Talking to reporters after Muku Roy’s homecoming, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had said Friday, “we will consider the case of those who had left the TMC with Mukul for BJP and want to come back.” It signalled that this might not be a lone case of defection from the BJP’s Bengal unit. However, Banerjee had clarified that TMC politicians and workers who left to join the BJP just ahead of the April-May assembly elections will not be taken back.

When asked about his current position, Rajib Banerjee said, he has some reservations regarding the saffron party’s principles. “I definitely have reservations about the principles of the party (BJP) and I have let my party leaders know about it… But today’s meeting with Kunalda has no connection with that,” he added.

Incidentally, Banerjee earlier this week had warned members of his new party over a social media post that “people will not take kindly to threats of Presidents rule against a government elected with a huge mandate”. The vehicle in which Banerjee travelled to Ghosh’s residence had several stickers and ‘uttorio’ (shawl) of the TMC.

After quitting the TMC in January, Banerjee had claimed that he was forced to do so as a section of party leaders “humiliated him for airing his grievances over their style of functioning”. Banerjee had served as minister in the TMC government both in 2011 and 2016.

Several former TMC MLAs including Dipendu Biswas and Sonali Guha have in the recent past sent letters regretting their decision to join the BJP and sought to return back to the partys fold. Guha, who at one time was considered close to Banerjee, made an impassioned plea on camera seeking the chief ministers forgiveness.

Guha, a four-time legislator from Satgachia in South 24 Parganas, had also written in a letter “the way fish cannot stay out of water, I will not be able to live without you, Didi”.

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