TMC will likely leave decision on `Ghar Wapsi of ex-TMC leaders to Mamata

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(Eds: adding fresh matter, minor edits) Kolkata, Jun 4 (PTI) Trinamool Congress leadership is yet to take a call on Ghar Wapsi (return home) by former TMC leaders who had joined the BJP ahead of the recently concluded assembly elections which the Mamata Banerjee-led party swept.

Top TMC sources said Banerjee, who is the party supremo, will take a final call on allowing those TMC men and women who had crossed over to the saffron party, who wish to rejoin re-entry into the party.

Political analysts however, predicted that the party would allow return of former TMC leaders who went over to BJP very selectively, to drive home the message to its cadre ahead of general elections in 2024, that rebellions would not be tolerated.

Er shirsho sidhanta, Netri nijei nite paren (only the Leader (Banerjee) can take a final decision on this issue), said a senior TMC leader, on conditions of anonymity. 'We are now preoccupied with fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and organising Cyclone Yaas relief,' a TMC leader said.

Several former TMC MLAs including Dipendu Biswas and Sonali Guha have in 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, has also written in a letter the way fish cannot stay out of water, I will not be able to live without you, Didi.

Speculation is also rife on a possible home coming by one of TMCs founder Mukul Roy, who had crossed over to BJP after Banerjees nephew Abhishek visited his wife at a city hospital and spoke to Roys son, who had also joined BJP.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also taken the trouble of ringing up to enquire about Roys wifes health.

Roy on his part has tried to lay to rest rumours of his return to TMC, yet they persist as Banerjee had termed his conduct as not so bad.

The chief minister during her election campaign had branded other turncoat TMC members as Mir Jafars after the infamous Bengal general who betrayed Siraj ud Dowlah in the battle of Plassey against Lord Robert Clives army.

TMC will selectively take back people who crossed over. The aim will be to organisationally weaken BJP but at the same time it will not want too many turncoats back as this would be seen as rewarding dissidence, said Rajat Roy, well- known political analyst and member of the Calcutta Research Group. Mukul Roy is a special case as he is known to be an organisational brain, though it is to be seen whether and how he will be accommodated.

Analysts feel that TMC will follow a combination of Congresss and the Left Fronts strategy on this. While the Congress has in the past often taken back dissidents, the Left has usually had a policy of `no-come backs for dissidents and turncoats.

'Inducting those who had left the party at a crucial hour and joined the brigade of falsehood led by Modi and Shah is not slated to figure tomorrow's organisational meeting,' TMC leaders however said.

They downplayed Abhisek Banerjees visit to a private hospital to see the BJP national vice-president Mukul Roys wife as a courtesy call.

Another top TMC leader told PTI on conditions of anonymity 'these issues of induction are not generally discussed at any extended meeting of the party where a large number of participants are present.' 'Issues like whom to include and expel are decided by the core disciplinary committee consisting of Mamata Banerjee, Abhisek Banerjee, Subrata Bakshi, Partha Chatterjee. That is ashorter close-knit meeting which takes a call on each case,' he said.

'However, so far as I know no decision has been taken on taking back those who left TMC before the polls, including any elected or defeated MLA. The party already has absolute majority in the House and does not face any threat in numbers,' he pointed out.

'Considering the popularity of Mamata Banerjee if anyone wants to join her now, it is entirely the wish of that leader to be associated with TMC, not ours. Our core committee will take the right decision at the right moment,' he said.

The TMC leader claimed, 'very few MLAs and MPs had crossed over to the BJP before the assembly polls and the party largely remained intact' but the saffron eco-system 'created a hype as if the TMC is disintegrating in the run-up to the polls.' 'As we had all along maintained, people are with us, the party largely remained united, our leader Mamata Banerjee worked for people tirelessly from front ignoring barbs and frontal attacks by the entire BJP leadership and we were proved right,' he observed.

'Ours is not a regimented party like the CPIM, we are a party with liberal democratic principles we will certainly consider what they (turncoats) had said or not said against us,' the TMC leader added.

The Trinamool Congress romped home in Bengal, pocketing 213 of the 292 assembly seats that went to polls and secured a third straight term in office.

The Mamata Banerjee-led party's main challenger, the BJP, bagged 77 seats, against a claim that they would win more than 200 seats.

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