From being a veteran Left leader to becoming a senior minister in the Trinamool Congress government, 76-year-old Abdur Razzak Mollah’s political career has seen many ups and downs. Recently, the Bhangar MLA was among the five TMC ministers who were not given tickets for the upcoming polls. But Mollah’s influence over Muslim votes in his constituency as well as in South 24 Parganas is crucial for Trinamool’s success in the region.
Son of a farmer, Mollah was drawn to the Communist ideology since his college days. He entered politics as a student leader and went on to become a popular CPI(M) leader. Among the longest serving legislators in West Bengal, he was first elected MLA in 1977 and continued to hold the post till 2011 from Canning (Purba) Assembly constituency.
Although he was minister for land and land reforms in the Left government, he was critical of his party’s land acquisition policy at the time of Singur and Nandigram movement. He also attacked then CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharya’s industrial policy.
In 2011, when more than half of the Left government’s ministers lost the election, Mollah retained the Canning (Purba) seat with a considerable margin.
In 2014, he was expelled from the CPI(M) for “anti-party activities”. Soon after, he formed a new political party, the Bharatiya Naybichar Party (BNP), but in January 2016 he was expelled from the party too for reaching out to Mamata Banerjee.
Once a vocal critic of Mamata Banerjee, he joined the TMC in February 2016 and was declared the party’s candidate from Bhangor – the constituency adjacent to Mollah’s Canning (Purba) seat. He won from the seat and was made food processing minister in the Mamata Banerjee government.
Now that he has been denied a ticket in these elections, a section of the TMC fears that it might affect the party’s chances in Bhangor and South 24 Parganas. However, other Trinamool leaders are hopeful that his supporters will continue to be with the party.