Union finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on Monday began a new chapter in his political life by starting the election campaign for his son Abhijit, the Congress candidate from Nalhati in Birbhum district.
"Abhijit is my son. I know he is entering politics. But I have full trust that if you elect him, he will usher in development. He will do what has never been done to you in the past three decades," said Pranab Mukherjee, holding a microphone in a small field near Haridaspur Primary School in this remote area of Birbhum, around 330 km to the north of Kolkata.
"I fought elections in Birbhum, but the people did not support me. But I will be happy if they bless my son. I always wanted to win from this district," said Mukherjee on the sidelines of the public meeting.
Speaking before his father, Abhijit appeared a trifle overwhelmed: "He is my father and the union finance minister. You all know what good work he has done. He has unleashed a spate of development in Jangipur, Murshidabad, which is his constituency. I will bring such development here and will follow his model. I want your blessings."
Abhijit, 50, resigned his general manager’s position with SAIL to join politics.
Pranab Mukherjee had lost the Lok Sabha election from Bolpur, Birbhum, in 1980. His ancestral house is located in Miriti village.
Hundreds of people from nearby villages braved the sun for hours on trees and rooftops. Rudradeb Ghosh, a former Trinamool Congress leader who was contesting as an independent against Abhijit, appeared on stage to withdraw his candidature and vote for him. “I had made a mistake by contesting,” said Ghosh.
The father-son duo covered four spots in the constituency – Haridaspur, Bautia, Banior and Paikpara. At every place, crowds waited and listened to them patiently.