|Deepa Das Munshi and Satya Ranjan Das Munshi.
Picture by Nantu Dey
Raiganj, March 7: Congress leader Priya Ranjan Das Munshi, who is ailing and out of political action, will be visible in campaign posters of his wife Deepa and brother Satya Ranjan, who is the Trinamul candidate from Raiganj.
Deepa, who is the sitting MP from Raiganj and a Union minister of state, has been using Priya Ranjan’s photographs in every poll campaign since 2009.
Satya Ranjan has been pitted against her this time by Trinamul.
Deepa, who has not been named a candidate for Raiganj yet, is one of the most vocal critics of Mamata Banerjee, the Trinamul party chief and chief minister.
Satya Ranjan plans to follow the same strategy of tugging at people’s heart strings using his elder brother’s photograph. In October 2008, Priya Ranjan, the then MP of Raiganj, took ill and has since been under treatment at the Apollo Hospitals in Delhi.
In 2009, Deepa contested the seat and secured more votes that her husband, the sole reason being the sympathy of North Dinajpur residents at their “Priyoda”.
After being elected, Deepa started campaigning to build an AIIMS-like hospital in Raiganj, which was planned by the Centre but scuttled by the state government.
The Mamata Banerjee-led government did not want the hospital to be built in Raiganj, but in Kalyani, Nadia.
By making Satya Ranjan the candidate in Raiganj, Trinamul has taken the battle to the Das Munshis’ home.
“My brother (Priya Ranjan) is my political guru. Whatever I know about politics, I have learnt from him. He has done a lot for Raiganj till he fell ill. I represent the same ideology and tradition and find that Mamata Banerjee is unequivocally a similar person in words and commitment like my brother,” Satya Ranjan said.
“I have thus decided to use my brother’s photographs in every publicity material along with that of our party chairperson Mamata Banerjee. People of North Dinajpur district have a different feeling for him and our party leaders, too, have immense respect for him,” he said.
Satya Ranjan, who was based in Calcutta, is not a familiar face in Raiganj.
“It is true that Boudi(sister-in-law) is my principal political contender in the seat. It would, however, not affect our family relations,” Satya Ranjan said today.
Deepa said it would be an insult to Priya Ranjan if Trinamul used his photographs in its campaigns.
“People here respect him (Priya Ranjan) a lot and they would not take it for granted that Trinamul will use his photo in the campaign. Construction of the AIIMS-like hospital in Raiganj was his dream but the chief minister did not allow it.”