Trinamul’s Nityananda Chatterjee in 2011
Burdwan, Aug. 28: Mithun Chatterjee has had his et tu, Baba moment, thanks to Bengal’s politics-is-thicker-than-blood syndrome.
His father, Trinamul leader Nityananda Chatterjee, 58, clandestinely filed his nomination for a seat in Burdwan’s Guskara municipality for which Mithun, 28, was the party’s choice.
The party’s diktat that he refrain from contesting the polls because of his name once getting embroiled in a criminal case could not deter Nityananda, who had been assigned the responsibility of distributing the party symbol among the candidates for the civic polls on September 21.
Guskara town Trinamul president Nityananda stuck to his guns, sailing past the last date for withdrawal of nominations citing illness and leaving his party with no option but to back a dissident contesting as an Independent.
When the party assigned him the task of distributing the party symbol among 16 candidates, Nityananda had been told that Mithun would be the nominee for ward no. 3.
Chanchal Garai, Trinamul leader and sitting chairman of the municipality, said: “Nityananda filed his nomination on the last date (August 23). We told him repeatedly to withdraw but he did not do so. On August 25, he was admitted to a Calcutta nursing home, apparently with chest pain. He did not turn up to withdraw his nomination the next day, which was the last date for doing so.”
The police said Nityananda had been arrested in January 2011 for allegedly providing shelter to the leader of a three-member gang involved in robbing a businessman on Guskara-Suri road. He was, however, acquitted.
When this correspondent had contacted him on August 24, Nityananda had ducked the question if his son was the party’s choice for the seat. “I had filed the nomination to ensure the party’s victory in ward no. 3, where a formidable party dissident is contesting as an Independent,” he had said. Nityananda could not be contacted since being admitted to the nursing home.
Mithun was a picture of sacrifice when this newspaper contacted him today. Admitting that he was the party’s choice, he said: “But my father is a leader of high stature in Guskara and so, I have nothing to say if he himself files the nomination for the seat.” Mithun said his father was feeling “uneasy” and had been advised rest.
Caught in the mess, the local Trinamul leadership has decided to back Independent Lakshman Das Bairagi.
“We don’t approve of Nityananda’s nomination. This is why we will back the Independent,” said Birbhum Trinamul president Anubrata Mondal, who has been assigned to oversee the party’s electioneering for the Guskara municipality.
Bairagi, who appears to be the biggest beneficiary of the father-son-party episode, said: “I’m a Trinamul man.... I will abide by the party’s decision.”