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West Bengal elections — In spotlight: The nephew Banerjee

His rise has made him a target of not just BJP, but also driven out Mamata aides. Now the 33-yr-old faces the CBI.

West Bengal elections — In spotlight: The nephew BanerjeeAbhishek Banerjee with Mamata at the Nandigram Day rally on Sunday. (PTI)

IF MAMATA Banerjee is known for her hard and long road to power in West Bengal, nephew Abhishek Banerjee is accused of exactly the opposite. Having first emerged on the scene after Mamata became Chief Minister in 2011, the 33-year-old is now the undeclared No. 2 in the Trinamool and the cause of heartburn for senior leaders, many of whom have since left the party.

The sitting MP from Diamond Harbour, Abhishek is also Mamata’s soft spot — as the BJP has realised. The party has made the “bhaipo (nephew)” one of the central targets of its campaign. Former Trinamool stalwarts such as Suvendu Adhikari, Saumitra Khan and others say he is actually the “tolabaaj bhaipo (extortionist nephew)”, accusing Abhishek of corruption.

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Countering charges that he had got help to the top, Abhishek said in January that if that had been the case, “I would have held 35 posts today.”

While Mamata has tried to take back some control of the party lately, realising the growing resentment over Abhishek, the hand of the “pishi (aunt)” remains firmly on the nephew’s shoulder. Before a CBI team landed up at Abhishek’s house last month to question his wife Rujira Banerjee (they got married in 2012 and have two children) in connection with a coal pilferage and illegal mining case, Mamata strode out holding Abhishek’s daughter by the hand.

First published on: 16-03-2021 at 12:01:15 am
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