With Mamata Banerjee deciding to concentrate on West Bengal and the northeastern states following the snub by Anna Hazare at the Ramlila Maidan last week, almost the entire top leadership of the Trinamool Congress has left for Kolkata. Not one senior leader was present when a list of 18 candidates was announced in Delhi Wednesday.
Left in the lurch is veteran actor Biswajit Chatterjee, the party’s candidate from New Delhi and the sole non-political, albeit well-known, name in the list. Biswajit does not know too much about elections or about Delhi.
Neither does his party. The day before nominations are to be filed, neither he nor senior party workers in the capital had any clue where nomination papers have to be filed.
Even the announcement of his candidature has seen much drama. Biswajeet was declared the candidate from South Delhi on the evening of the Ramlila rally when Mamata announced his name as the party’s sole Delhi candidate until then — there have been three more names since. It took the party leadership 24 hours to realise that after delimitation, South Delhi no longer includes the Bengali-dominated Chittaranjan Park.
He was soon shifted to New Delhi. “Even Mukul Roy did not know South Delhi no longer has a large Bengali presence,” the actor said.
Unofficially, though, the message is clear — as the only candidate from Delhi whose name was announced by the party chief herself, the former actor’s campaign is to be a priority over candidates in Chandni Chowk, East and Northwest Delhi. Resources are being pooled and contacts being arranged to get him campaign offices in crucial areas like Karol Bagh and Greater Kailash.
But with increasing discontent over tickets, even party offices in the constituency are hard to come by. Gone is the euphoria that was seen when the Trinamool had announced it was ready to open party offices in every parliamentary constituency. Biswajit himself is clearly rattled by the lack of interest. He is told not to worry.
“There is of course a bit of worry , but even as a debutant actor when I was pitted against some of the biggest names of Bengali cinema, I was never scared. I am proud of the responsibility that I have been entrusted with but my leader has to come here more often to give support to us candidates,” Biswajit told The Indian Express.
Three more for Delhi among TMC’s latest 18
The Trinamool Congress Wednesday announced 18 more candidates in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, including Rae Bareli, Pilibhit and Kanpur. The three seats in Delhi for which candidates have been announced are Chandni Chowk (Hariom Sharma), Northwest Delhi (Harinath Ram) and East Delhi (Mohammed Shahid Siddiqui).
Among the candidates in Uttar Pradesh are Dr Sitaram Rajput (Unnao), Umesh Kumar Mishra (Rae Bareli), Radhika Balyan (Muzaffarnagar), MM Mishra (Azamgarh) and Prabhunarayan Srivastava (Phoolpur).