Rebel pulls out of fray in ward of Mamata's sister-in-law
Trinamul Congress dissident Ratan Malakar on Friday withdrew his nomination as an Independent candidate from ward 73 of the Calcutta Municipal Corporation, where Mamata Banerjee’s sister-in-law Kajari Banerjee is the party’s official candidate.
Malakar, a councillor for two decades, attributed his decision to his commitment to the party and requests from the top-tier leadership. Sources in the party said Malakar decided to withdraw after discussion with Trinamul’s national general-secretary Abhishek Banerjee, a nephew of candidate Kajari Banerjee.
“I was, am and will forever remain a loyal foot-soldier of the party. I had taken the decision to contest on account of overwhelming emotion. But after five-six senior leaders of the party explained why I should withdraw, I did not want to continue in the fray,” said Malakar.
Kajari Banerjee, whom Malakar visited later in the day, said there was no scope of misunderstanding with him.
“We have all grown up here together. He has been like a brother to me. For so many things, every now and then over the years, I went to him. He is an emotional man, and these things can happen,” said Kajari, wife of Kartik Banerjee, one of the chief minister’s brothers.
Trinamul sources said back-channel parleys were also underway with two other dissidents from the party who entered the contest as Independents — Sachhidanda Banerjee from ward 72 and Tanima Chatterjee from ward 68.
Banerjee — the chairman of the Calcutta Municipal Corporation between 2010 and 2015 — had unsuccessfully contested the 2015 civic polls as a Trinamul candidate from ward 70. He lost then to the BJP’s Asim Basu, who later defected to Trinamul and is the ruling party’s candidate from the ward this time.
Banerjee was upset with Basu’s induction and has been inactive in the party since then. He has now filed his nomination against Trinamul state president Subrata Bakshi’s brother Sandipranjan Bakshi.
Chatterjee, the Independent candidate from ward 68, is a sister of deceased stalwart Subrata Mukherjee.
“Saturday is the last day for withdrawal of candidature. If those from Trinamul contesting as Independents do not withdraw, the party will consider stern action against them,” said Trinamul’s south Calcutta organisational district chief Debashis Kumar.