Tamluk, a Trinamool stronghold, has seen an ironic twist with the transformation of former CPM MP Lakshman Seth, the alleged “mastermind “of the Nandigram killings, into a “key campaigner” for the Trinamool Congress.
Seth, who the CPM says is now under the patronage of the ruling party, is already rooting for Mamata Banerjee as prime minister. He has said, “I would like to see Mamata as prime minister. And my calculation says she will be the prime minister with Congress support.”
Dubbed a “villain with blood on his hands” by senior TMC leaders earlier, Seth is facing resistance from TMC leaders in Tamluk; the TMC district unit claims Seth has been imposed on them. Veteran leaders said it is a decision by the top leadership.
Sisir Adhikari, chief of TMC in East Midnapore said, “It is true Lakshman Seth is campaigning against the Left Front. As for who gave him the right to speak for the TMC, please ask our leaders in Kolkata.”
Sisir Adhikari’s son Subhendu Adhikari is contesting from Tamluk. Sisir is the Kanthi candidate
Seth had been barred from entering East Midnapore district. His campaign is restricted to when he goes to his former constituency to attend court, and he when he speaks to the media elsewhere. TMC sources said Seth’s followers have shifted allegiance to TMC.
TMC working president in East Midnapore Mamud Hossain said, “Seth is a person whom people of this district hate the most. He is the mastermind of the mass murder during Nandigram movement. He is moving free. And now he is trying to get close to our party. It is difficult for us to tolerate him, but we have decided to ignore him.”
CPM sources allege Seth has transferred part of his wealth to some leaders of the TMC, who are looking at politically rehabilitating him. The CPM leadership claimed Seth is now in “political shelter”. CPM district secretary Prashanta Pradhan said, “He has been campaigning against the Left Front and saying nice things about the ruling party for a month now. Though he lives in Kolkata, he spreads messages through his followers and, while speaking to the media, promotes Mamata Banerjee. If there had been no nexus between Seth and TMC leaders, it would not have been possible.”
In a press statement last month, Left Front chairman Biman Bose warned comrades in East Midnapore to be “alert”. “Seth is keeping contact with leaders of the ruling party. Please beware of him,” the statement said.
Tamluk and Kanthi will vote in the final phase In both constituencies, the debate is not whether the Trinamool Congress will win but the margin with which it will score those victories.