|Congress candidate Arunoday Saha files his nomination papers in Agartala. (PTI)
Professor (retd) Arunoday Saha
West Tripura (general)
For professor (retired) Arunoday Saha, 67, first vice-chancellor of Tripura Central University, fighting the heat and dust of a Lok Sabha election is an altogether different but “pleasant” experience.
Despite the formidable nature of CPM campaign and organisational work across all 30 Assembly segments comprising West Tripura Lok Sabha seat, the veteran academician remains “hopeful and optimistic”.
As a college and university teacher of high standing and then as the first vice-chancellor of Tripura Central University, Saha has come a long way. After almost a six-year term as vice-chancellor that ended on February 18 last year, Saha kept himself busy writing offbeat articles and reminiscences in newspapers and participating in cultural activities.
“My family has traditionally been with the Congress but this nomination as a Congress candidate for Lok Sabha is slightly unexpected. But as the party has honoured me, I will also do my best in the election,” Saha said.
Born into a family of wealthy businessmen — his father Abani Mohan Saha was a leading businessman in Bihalgarh subdivisional town — Saha never considered business as a career.
A brilliant student from his days in Bishalgarh School, Saha did exceedingly well in the school final examination of West Bengal Board of Secondary Education and stood third in the pre-university examination of Calcutta University.
A student of Calcutta’s Presidency College, Arunoday graduated with honours in economics and did his masters in economics from Calcutta University in 1970.
“I joined Ramthakur College as a teacher in 1970 and then joined Calcutta University’s economics masters campus in Agartala in 1978; those days were really great and the company of students and eminent colleagues was great,” Saha said.
He left for the US in 1985 on study leave and returned to rejoin Tripura University, established in 1987, as professor with his PhD in economics completed in Utah State University.
He had been teaching in Tripura University along with teaching assignments in other universities in the country as well as in Bangladesh but his career took an upward turn in 2006 when Tripura University was upgraded to Tripura Central University.
“I was appointed the first vice-chancellor of Tripura Central University on July 3, 2007, and continued in the post till February 18, 2013. I am satisfied that I could contribute to the university in its formative stage,” Saha said.
Despite never being active in any politics, Saha and his family were always known as Congress sympathisers and the party put forward his name as one of the possible contenders for the West Tripura Lok Sabha seat.
“Fortunately, I have no burden or liability; my son is well settled in the US and I have time to spare for political work; hopefully, I will get people’s support,” Saha said.
He added that regardless of the poll outcome, he would stay in politics.