December 22, 2021 3:49:02 am
The children and close kin of several Trinamool Congress (TMC) leaders emerged victorious in the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) elections on Tuesday. Several first-timers, including Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s sister-in-law Kajari Banerjee, registered victories while there was cause for triple celebration in TMC leader Tarak Singh’s household as apart from him both his son Amit and daughter Krishna also won.
Kajari, who is the wife of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s brother Kartik, won from ward 73 in her debut election by 6,493 votes. After Mamata and her nephew Abhishek, she is the third person from the Banerjee family to contest an election. Kajari had replaced four-time councillor Ratan Malakar in ward 73, which counts the chief minister as one of the residents.
“When ‘Didi [Mamata] blessed me, I was sure I will win this. I was with didi when the result was announced as soon as I won, I touched her feet and took her blessings first. I will work for a better water supply in my area and will renovate parks in the area. There is so much scope for improvement,” said Kajari.
Tarak Singh, who is a former member of the KMC Mayor in Council, hit out at his critics who had taken digs at him after the party fielded his daughter Krishna, who won from 116 by 8,035 votes, and son Amit, who defeated his nearest rival in ward 117 by 7,431 votes. Tarak Singh won ward 118 by 8,159 votes.
“Critics kept attacking us for promoting paribartantra [dynasty politics] but now paribartantra has won and this is the people’s mandate,” said the senior TMC leader.
Urban Development Minister Chandrima Bhattacharya’s son Sourav Basu, who quit a corporate job to join politics about three years ago, also secured an electoral victory on debut by flipping ward 86 that the BJP had won in the last civic polls. He won by 3,880 votes.
“I am thrilled. I dedicate this victory to the people of my ward. My gratitude is always there for CM Mamata Banerjee and [TMC MP] Abhishek Banerjee. I thank people for choosing me and I will prove worthy of the responsibility with my work,” he told reporters.
State Women and Child Welfare Minister Sashi Panja’s daughter Pooja, a 32-year-old law graduate, won ward 8 by 3,607 votes. “I have always looked up to my mother in life, so definitely I discuss everything with her. This is my first election as a candidate…I am very happy with the victory,” Pooja said.
She had campaigned extensively for her mother during the Assembly elections earlier this year when Shashi Panja was down with Covid-19.
“It is the TMC’s win. She [Pooja] has won as Mamata Banerjee’s candidate and it will motivate her to work for the people,” said the minister.
Among the other TMC scions who secured victories were minister Javed Ahmed Khan’s son Faiz Ahmed Khan and MLA Swarnakamal Saha’s son Sandipan Saha.
“I thank my parents and Mamata Banerjee. In 2015, I won by a margin of more than 17,000 votes. The margin is growing because those who have benefitted from schemes such as Lakshmir Bhandar and Swasthya Sathi have voted for us,” said Faiz, a business administration graduate who registered the highest victory margin by winning ward 66 by 62,045 votes.
Sandipan Saha, who is an Indian Institute of Management (IIM) graduate, told reporters, “It is a massive win for the TMC. I thank the people in my ward . We have ensured that people at the ground level receive the benefits of all state government schemes. We will continue the development work in our ward.”
The late Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) leader and state minister Kshiti Goswami’s daughter Vasundhara Goswami bagged ward 96 for the TMC, winning it by 5,887 votes.
TMC MP Shantanu Sen’s wife Dr Kakali Sen also registered a victory in her debut election, winning ward 2 — her husband’s ward — by 17,838 votes.
“Those who are good students know they will perform well…they don’t think about the exact marks. I am happy with the huge margin and I thank ‘Didi’ for believing in us,” she said.
However, the polls ended in disappointment for Subrata Mukherjee’s sister Tanima who the ruling party initially fielded before withdrawing her candidature to give ward 68 to the late minister’s close aide and former councillor Sudarshana Mukherjee. Sudarshana won the ward by 1,830 votes.
“It is the TMC’s victory. People have clearly shown what they want and have answered the controversy over the candidate from this ward. I dedicate this victory to Subrata Mukherjee,” said Sudarshana who was chosen the TMC candidate after she announced she would contest as an Independent.
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