Among TMC leaders who were caught on camera accepting bribes, Suvendu Adhikari and Mukul Roy are the two leaders who have now joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
All those who have closely watched West Bengal politics in recent years must be aware of the sting operation done by Narada news on Mamata Banerjee’s TMC leaders. The sting carried by Mathew Samuels targeting high-ranking officials and politicians of the All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) showed several politicians and a high-ranked police officer accepting cash bribes in exchange for providing unofficial favours to a company.
Among TMC leaders who were caught on camera accepting bribes, Suvendu Adhikari and Mukul Roy are the two leaders who have now joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). In 2017, in an unprecedented move, Mukul Roy joined the BJP. Suvendu Adhikari, who’s in the news lately, has also joined the BJP in presence of Amit Shah.
However, the Facebook page of West Bengal BJP still has a list of leaders on its timeline who were accused in the sting operation in 2016. Along with other leaders, the Facebook post on 14 March 2016 names Mukul Roy and Suvendu Adhikari, two leaders who have joined hands with the BJP now.
The same West Bengal page of Bharatiya Janata Party also has a full-fledged video of the sting operation. Mukul Roy, the top TMC leader back then, appears in the video of sting operation done by Narada news channel.
Suvendu Adhikari also makes an appearance in the sting video, for which he later had to face the music from the Enforcement Directorate.
The case was taken over by the CBI in 2017. However, according to the report by The Print on 21 Oct 2020, the CBI is yet to receive approval from the Lok Sabha Speaker to prosecute three Trinamool Congress (TMC) MPs and a former party parliamentarian accused in the Narada sting operation and bribery scam.
For now, both Mukul Roy and Suvendu Adhikari have joined the BJP, the same party that demanded TMC to fire them after the sting video came out. Even Home Minister Amit Shah went on to rant about the corruption and sting operation of TMC leaders in many interviews.
So why did BJP induct Mr Roy and Mr Adhikari if they were accused of corruption by the BJP itself in 2016? Does BJP lack good leaders so much that it has inducted politicians whose sting operation they have uploaded on their Facebook handle 4 years back?
It has to be seen whether the speaker gives the CBI the clearance required to prosecute these leaders. Looking at their induction in BJP and their importance in upcoming West Bengal assembly elections, the BJP certainly isn’t interested in prosecuting the two leaders.
On the other hand, like many who have raised accusations against BJP that it uses central investigating agencies to manipulate other party leaders, its likely that many will see the induction of Mukul Roy and Suvendu Adhikari in BJP as part of ‘give and take’, where the two leaders will help the BJP fight the TMC in elections, while the speaker’s clearance for their prosecution lingers for some more time.