West Bengal CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has got himself the soft-spoken, suave, former Kolkata Mayor Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya as his election agent.
After the CM’s election agent Pranab Sen died in August 2009, the latter’s most trusted lieutenant, Khokon Ghosh Dastidar, seemed to be the likeliest candidate for the position.
Dastidar’s candidature was, however, turned down following allegations of high-handedness and interference in civil society against him. It is also believed that Dastidar’s wife and the sitting CPI(M) legislator from the Falta constituency in South 24 Parganas, Chandana Ghosh Dastidar, was denied the ticket this time following similar complaints.
Hence Bhattacharjee’s decision to appoint the former Kolkata mayor is in line with his position that the party should not make “unwanted interference in civil society”, which the CM said in an interview to HT. Dastidar is now in charge of the CM’s constituency, Jadavpur.
However, Bikash Bhattacharya rubbished the allegations. “He is an able organiser and extremely popular with the people of the constituency. He has always been associated with the campaigning process and this time too he is very much associated,” he said.
A senior state committee leader of the CPI(M), however, pointed out that although Dastidar had proficiency as a party organiser, Bhattacharya’s legal competence was necessary, especially when Trinamool Congress has fielded former chief secretary Manish Gupta against the CM.