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Pranab kin in demand for bypoll

District party leadership wants president’s daughter in-law to contest

kolkata Updated: Oct 16, 2012 14:47 IST
Ravik Bhattacharya

With Avijit Mukherjee now a Lok Sabha MP after coming through in a closely contested fight for Jangipur, his father and president Pranab Mukherjee’s former parliamentary constituency, more members of the Mukherjee household could be line to make their debut in electoral politics.

The district Congress leadership in Murshidabad had lately been airing a demand to bring Chitralekha Mukherjee, the president’s daughter in-law, into the arena of electoral politics and wants her to contest the Nalhati assembly seat vacated by Avijit following his victory in the Jangipur bypoll.

The district party leadership also has a plan B, should the president’s daughter in-law back out and would pitch for Shukla Ghosh, wife of the president’s brother in-law, instead. Should she turn down the proposal as well, Tarun Ghosh, who served as personal secretary to Avijit during his days as the Nalhati MLA, could be their likely pick for the impending bypoll from the constituency.

“Our party high command would take a final call in the matter. Chitralekha Mukherjee is the daughter in-law in the Mukherjee family, and a perfect candidate for the Nalhati bypoll,” Syed Siraj Jimmi, president of Birbhum district Congress, told HT.

“A few other names also doing the rounds for the bypoll, but those haven’t been discussed as yet,” Pradesh Congress committee president Pradip Bhattacharya told HT.

“One has to consider the fact that Chitralekha Mukherjee is a popular face in the area and put in a lot of effort at the grassroot-level in the run-up to the 2011 Assembly polls, which proved decisive in her husband’s eventual victory from Nalhati,” Syed Siraj Jimmi told HT.

A mother of two and originally based in New Delhi, Chitralekha Mukherjee is also actively associated with an NGO. She is in her mid-forties. Shukla Ghosh too, is deemed a key party hand and has been taking an active interest in the day-to-day functioning of the state Congress leadership.

However, wary of the near reverse in Jangipur, with Avijit scraping home by a wafer thin margin of 2,356 votes, key party mandarins are mindful that the impending Nalhati bypoll might not be a cakewalk for the Congress.

In a telling remark in the light of the Jangipur verdict, Congress leader Adhir Chowdhury conceded that a local Muslim candidate would have fared a lot better in Jangipur.

While Mukherjee contested the Nalhati seat with support from Trinamool and romped home by a whopping 15,000 votes, all major parties are set to contest on their own steam in the impending bypoll, resulting in a likely division in the antiLeft votes between Trinamool Congress, Congress and the BJP.

Congress could bag only 2 of the 15 seats in fray in the Nalhati municipal bypoll.