It’s official. The longest-serving MLA of Bengal and former CPI(M) land and land reforms minister, Abdur Rezzak Mollah, is joining the Trinamool.
Rezzak, who won eight state elections at a stretch from 1977 to 2011, told HT on Thursday that he will contest the polls from Canning East, his old constituency, on a Trinamool ticket. “I will join on February 12. I will be communicated the venue and time soon,” he said.
The minister of the crucial land and land reforms department for 10 years under the CPI(M)led Left Front government, the 71-year-old veteran hinted at switching camps on January 11 after calling on the chief minister at Nabanna, the state secretariat. Mollah had then said that he could join the ruling party if the chief minister agreed to offer him and his son two safe Assembly seats However, on Thursday, he refused to comment on what his son, a politically non-entity, will do.
Rezzak was expelled from CPI(M) on February 26, 2014, for anti-party activities. After the expulsion, he formed the Bharatiya Nyaybichar Party. Significantly, the party expelled him after he called on Mamata.
Always known to be a pragmatist, grassroots leader, he is most remembered for his public tirade against former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and former industry minister Nirupam Sen over the Left Front government’s industry policy during the days of the anti-Singur movement between 2006 and 2011.
Rezzak enjoyed considerable following in the Canning East constituency and retained the seat even in the 2011 election when the Left Front lost power after 34 years of uninterrupted rule.
“My target now is to win the polls,” Rezzak said when asked if Mamata had said anything about ministership. Their stands on land and industry have many similarities. Both feel farmers’ land should not be taken to make way for industry, and small farmers form a critical component of Bengal politics that cannot be ignored at any cost.