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Saturday, April 17, 2021

Sovan Chatterjee: A leader without a party

Sovan Chatterjee who was instrumental in strengthening the TMC in the South 24 Parganas district was roped in by the BJP to help the party develop an organisational base in the region.

Written by Santanu Chowdhury | Kolkata |
March 16, 2021 9:37:19 am
Sovan Chatterjee, Sovan Chatterjee BJP, Sovan Chatterjee quits BJP, Sovan Chatterjee Bengal elections, Bengal polls, Indian ExpressSovan Chatterjee is now without a party ahead of the Bengal polls

Once a high-profile Trinamool Congress leader and close aide of Mamata Banerjee, who affectionately addressed him by his nickname ‘Kanon’, Sovan Chatterjee had joined the BJP in August 2019 following differences with the Chief Minister. On Sunday, however, Chatterjee walked out of the BJP as well after he was denied a ticket.

The two-time TMC MLA and two-time mayor of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC), who also held several portfolios in the Mamata Banerjee Cabinet, Chatterjee was expecting to be fielded from Behala Purba, which he had won in 2011 and 2016 as a TMC MLA. His associate and TMC defector Baishakhi Banerjee also quit the BJP on Sunday.

Chatterjee who was instrumental in strengthening the TMC in the South 24 Parganas district was roped in by the BJP to help the party develop an organisational base in the region. While he wasn’t very active on the ground in his early days as a BJP leader, Chatterjee became more visible after being appointed observer of the BJP’s Kolkata Zone in January.

Both Chatterjee and Baishakhi Banerjee took part in road shows and rallies to campaign for the BJP, but got a mixed response. In one such rally, TMC workers showed black flags to the two leaders recently.

After the TMC fielded Ratna Chatterjee, the estranged wife of Chatterjee from Behala Purba constituency, there wasspeculation that he would get a ticket from the seat considered a TMC stronghold. However, when the BJP released its candidate list for the third and fourth phases of the West Bengal Assembly polls, the party chose popular Bengali actor Payel Sarkar as its candidate from Behala Purba constituency.

Hours after the announcement, Chatterjee quit the BJP and is now without a party ahead of the polls.

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