Dozen dose of dynasty on Trinamul list

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By ARNAB GANGULY
  • Published 19.03.11
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Calcutta, March 18: Sons, brothers and wives of Trinamul Congress heavyweights, and even a husband and a mother-in-law, figure in the candidate list that Mamata Banerjee released today.

Just five days ago, Trinamul leaders had scoffed at the Left Front list because it featured half-a-dozen relatives of front functionaries.

However, of the 228 candidates Trinamul has fielded for the April-May Assembly polls, at least 12 have family ties with party functionaries, including Union ministers, MPs and the Calcutta mayor.

Chowringhee candidate Shikha Mitra, a sitting MLA, is the wife of MP Somen Mitra. Dibyendu Adhikari, another re-nominated MLA, is the son of Union minister of state Sisir Adhikari and brother of MP Subhendu Adhikari.

Subhranshu Roy, fielded from Bijpur, is the son of Union minister of state for shipping Mukul Roy, while junior Union minister Sultan Ahmed’s younger brother Iqbal Ahmed is contesting from Khanakul.

“Mukul Roy has been with the party from the very beginning and is one of Mamata’s most trusted aides. This is a kind of recognition,” a senior Trinamul leader said.

Maheshtala candidate Kasturi Das, the mother-in-law of Calcutta mayor Sovan Chatterjee, is contesting an Assembly election for the first time.

“She has been a four-time councillor in Maheshtala municipality and knows what it takes to contest polls. I am very happy that she has got the ticket. I’m sure she is going to win,” Chatterjee said.

Trinamul insiders said the list did not only have relatives of bigwigs. “Family members of party workers who have lost their lives too have been included,” said a leader close to Mamata.

Manju Bose’s husband Bikash Bose, a Trinamul worker from Nadia, was killed before the 2001 elections. Manju contested the polls and made it to the Assembly but lost in 2006. She has now been fielded from Noapara.

Haringhata candidate Nilima Nag is the wife of a slain Trinamul block president, Samir Nag.

The candidature of Sudarshan Ghosh Dastidar, husband of Barasat MP Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, was expected. “She (Mamata) is very close to the couple. Sudarshan (a doctor) had treated her when she was unwell,” a Trinamul source said.

Shashi Panja, member of the mayor-in-council and daughter-in-law of the late Ajit Panja, is in the fray from Shyampukur. Late MP Akbar Ali Khandekar’s wife Swati is the nominee for Chanditala. Barabani candidate Bidhan Updhayay is the son of the late Manik Upadhyay, a former MLA from the same seat.

CPM leaders said the presence of relatives in the Trinamul list was not surprising. “The Congress and Trinamul have the same roots. These tendencies are common to both parties,” a CPM state committee member said.

Trinamul insiders said Mamata had shown extreme caution in her selections.

“There are five retired IPS officers. There is former chief secretary Manish Gupta and former Ficci secretary-general Amit Mitra. Rudra Narayan Bhattacharya is the dean of North Bengal Medical College. Their presence in the (next) government would give us an edge,” a source said.

Mahua Moitra, who had switched to Trinamul after working as Bengal coordinator for Rahul Gandhi’s Aam Aadmi Ka Sipahi programme before the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, is contesting from Jalangi in Murshidabad.

Rizwanur Rahman’s brother Rukbanur, defeated in the Calcutta civic polls last year despite Mamata leading a padyatra for him, has got a ticket from Nadia’s Chapra.

The list named the Diamond Harbour candidate as “Dipak Ghosh”. A retired IAS officer of the same name had fought against chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee from Jadavpur in 2006.

Ghosh, however, said he had told the party he would not contest this time. Later in the day, Trinamul state president Subrata Bakshi clarified that the candidate was Dipak Haldar and not Dipak Ghosh.