Calcutta, Sept. 22: The Trinamul Congress has not fielded a candidate for the October 10 bypoll in Jangipur, the Murshidabad parliamentary seat from where Pranab Mukherjee’s son Abhijit is in the fray as a Congress nominee.
The deadline for filing nominations expired today.
Trinamul sources said the move followed a directive from chief minister Mamata Banerjee to “ensure smooth sailing” for the President’s son.
The seat fell vacant after Mukherjee moved to Rashtrapati Bhavan in July.
A Raj Bhavan source said Mamata had thrice called on Mukherjee during his stay in the Prince of Wales suite when he visited Calcutta earlier this month.
“I am happy about Mamatadi’s gesture,” Abhijit, who was busy campaigning in Jangipur, told The Telegraph tonight. “This will stand me in good stead in my efforts to win the bypoll.”
Trinamul’s Murshidabad unit chief Mohammed Ali, who was in Calcutta to meet state party leaders, said the decision came from the chief minister herself.
“We were told today Didi does not want to field a party nominee in Jangipur to ensure Congress candidate Abhijitbabu’s victory there,” Ali said after an hour-long meeting with senior leaders at Trinamul Bhavan this afternoon.
Trinamul state president Subrata Bakshi, former railway minister Mukul Roy, state industries minister Partha Chatterjee and panchayat minister Subrata Mukherjee were among those who attended the meeting.
Yesterday, the state Congress had appealed to Mamata to back Abhijit.
A Trinamul state secretary said Mamata had taken a “politically mature decision”. The Trinamul chief, the leader added, appears to be keen on maintaining good relations with Mukherjee, though she had initially opposed his nomination for President.
“Mamatadi has taken a politically mature decision on keeping Pranabda in good humour as many state bills require the President’s assent,” he said.
For instance, the West Bengal Land Acquisition, Rehabitation and Resettlement Bill, which is yet to be passed in the Assembly, would require the President’s nod.
A Trinamul vice-president said Mamata’s decision was “politically farsighted” as the President is expected to play an important role if the next Lok Sabha elections throw up a fractured mandate.
Another factor that might have prompted Mamata to stay away from the bypoll is Trinamul’s “negligible presence” in the seven Assembly segments that make up the Jangipur parliamentary constituency.
“There is no denying that we are a negligible force in Murshidabad, particularly in Jangipur from where Pranabda was twice elected. Of the 22 legislators from the district, we have only one MLA from Sagardighi. Moreover, all three parliamentary seats belong to the Congress,” the Trinamul leader said.