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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Subrata Bakshi: The loyalist who has stood by Mamata Banerjee

Underlining his standing in the Trinamool, a senior leader says, “Bakshi da is the only man in the party who can tell Didi if anything is wrong.”

Written by Atri Mitra | Kolkata |
March 8, 2021 1:27:41 pm
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee Along with Subrata Bakshi (Express file photo)

With several of her lieutenants leaving her, Trinamool supremo Mamata Banerjee can count on one constant: Subrata Bakshi, 70.

A leader from Bhabanipur, Kolkata, Mamata’s constituency till she shifted to Nandigram this time, Bakshi keeps a low profile and remains unsung — a fact she must appreciate at this time of frequent rebellions. However, party circles also know him as a man who doesn’t mince words, fond of saying: “Sposto kothai kosto nei (Clear speech is not harmful)”.

Bakshi started his political career from the Congress’s student wing Chhatra Parishad. He left the Congress with Mamata when she formed the Trinamool in 1998. An employee of a nationalised bank at the time, he took VRS to become a whole-time party worker.

Soon he was among her closest aides, along with Mukul Roy, Bani Singha Roy, later Suvendu Adhikari (all three in the BJP now) and Partha Chatterjee.

In 2011, Bakshi won the Bhabanipur Assembly seat. But later, when a victorious Mamata needed a constituency to get elected to the House, the party didn’t look far from this seat, and the loyalist promptly complied. As reward, the then minister of Transport and PWD in the state was sent to the Lok Sabha by the party from Mamata’s South Kolkata constituency. Having won two times from there, he is now a Rajya Sabha MP.

Underlining his standing in the Trinamool, a senior leader says, “Bakshi da is the only man in the party who can tell Didi if anything is wrong.” While that candour often contributes to unpopularity down the ranks, that has not dented his proximity to Mamata. Partymen say this has also survived the rise of Mamata’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee in the Trinamool, that has left many leaders unhappy.

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