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Kolkata civic polls: In TMC candidate list, family ties run deep

Minister Chandrima Bhattacharya’s son and late TMC leader and cabinet minister Subrata Mukherjee’s sister will be fielded as candidates.

Written by Atri Mitra | Kolkata |
Updated: November 28, 2021 5:14:27 am
Left to right: TMC senior leader Subrata Bakshi, Minister Partha Chatterjee and MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay during a press conference on Kolkata municipal party candidate's list at Kalighat on Friday. (Express photo by Partha Paul)

On a day when Prime Minister Narendra Modi identified family-run parties as the “biggest threat to democracy” during his ‘Constitution Day’ address in Parliament, the ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal announced its list of candidates for the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) elections, with a significant number of them related to several top party leaders.

While deviating from its policy of ‘One Man, One Post’ by fielding sitting MLAs for the KMC polls, the Trinamool also named the kin of several party leaders, including party chief Mamata Banerjee’s sister-in-law Kajari Banerjee, as candidates. The wife of the chief minister’s brother Kartik Banerjee, Kajari is the Trinamool’s pick from ward 73.

Tanima Chatterjee, sister of late Trinamool heavyweight and minister Subrata Mukherjee, has also been named a candidate for the December 19 polls.

Another Trinamool leader Shantanu Sen’s wife Kakoli Sen also earned the ruling party’s ticket to contest from her husband’s ward. The son of minister Chandrima Bhattacharya, Sourav Basu, and the daughter of fellow Cabinet colleague Shashi Panja, Puja Panja, also feature in the list of candidates.  “This wouldn’t have been possible with the hon’ble chief minister. I have huge respect for her. I am feeling good but realise that I have to uphold the dignity of my family to be seen as a rightful successor. I will work in consultation with my mother,” Puja told The Indian Express.

“I am grateful that the party chose me and will try my best to live up to expectations,” Sourav told this newspaper.

Sandipan Saha, the son of Trinamool MLA Swarnakamal Saha, also grabbed a ticket to contest the civic polls.

Three members of the outgoing KMC’s Mayor-in-council, Tarak Singh’s family, also got tickets. While Singh will seek a fresh mandate from ward number 115, his son Amit Singh and daughter Krishna Singh will also make their electoral forays from wards 116 and 117 respectively.

Trinamool leader Baiswanar Chattopadhyay and his wife Paramita, both of whom are sitting councillors, were also named candidates for the December 19 polls. While the kin of several party leaders were handpicked for tickets, Ratan Dey and Ratan Malakar, both of whom are sitting councillors known faces in the ruling camp, were dropped from the candidates’ list.

Having a go at the Trinamool for favouring the kin of party leaders for tickets, BJP leader Samik Bhattacharya said, “The Trinamool’s list of candidates only goes to show that it is a family-run party. The ‘One Man, One Post’ policy that they had announced after the Assembly elections now stands proven as a farce.”

CPM leader Sujan Chakraborty said, “This is nothing new. The Trinamool has always been a family-run party and they are only carrying that tradition forward. Rest all that they say are an eyewash.”

On the Opposition’s charge of Trinamool being a family-run party, Trinamool MP Shantanu Dey said, “Mamata Banerjee is the most dynamic leader in India right now. She has made a conscious decision to bring the new generation into politics. Our party is a perfect combination of old and new. Hence, there is no question of us being a family-party. We are ready to do anything for the party and our leader Mamata Banerjee.”

Meanwhile, the Trinamool, on Saturday, announced candidates for two more wards which they left vacant yesterday. Sachin Singh will be the party’s nominee from ward 36 while Kakoli Bagh will contest from ward 119 on the Trinamool ticket.

In ward 60, the party replaced Md Yajujar Rahman with Kaiser Jamil as its candidate.

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