Trinamool Congress MP Kabir Suman’s heart lies with Chhatradhar Mahato, but his head restrains him from campaigning against his party’s candidate.
Suman will not campaign for Mahato as that would directly pit him against Jhargram Trinamool Congress candidate Sukumar Hansda. The CPI(M) candidate is sitting MLA Amar Basu.
“My heart goes out to Chhatradhar Mahato but being an MP, I have some political compulsions. I will not campaign against any candidate of our party or the alliance,” said Suman, who is now a stranger to his party and Banerjee.
The singer-turned MP thinks Mahato is a symbol of protest and had earlier released an album Chhatradharer Gaan, demanding the rebel’s release. Mahato’s supporters, of course, want him to campaign.
Mahato, former spokesperson of PCAPA, was arrested in September 2009 and booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. He is lodged in Midnapore central jail. Mahato filed his nomination as an Independent candidate, backed by the newly formed Santrash Durniti O Samrajyabadi Agrason Birodhi Ganatantrik Mancha.
To add to the rebel’s strength, Manoj Mahato, the former jailed rebel’s successor in the PCAPA, has secured bail and taken charge of the campaign. “We are appealing to all intellectuals who stood behind us to support our hero. We will appeal to the likes of Mahasweta Devi, Kabir Suman, Bivas Chakraborty and Kaushik Sen to join the campaign,” Manoj Mahato told HT.
What if the rebel’s supporters call up Suman and request him to campaign for him? “I’ll politely tell them that I support the cause but I will not campaign against my party’s candidate,” Suman told HT.
Suman’s decision comes at a time when the likes of writer-activist Mahasweta Devi, poet Shankha Ghosh and theatre personality Kaushik Sen have issued a statement supporting Mahato’s candidature and called on the people to vote for him.
Suman has campaigned for Bratya Basu, theatre personality and Trinamool candidate from Dum Dum, and Tarun Nashkar, professor and Socialist Unity Centre of India (Communist) candidate from Joynagar. “I would have campaigned for any alliance candidate had they invited me,” said the Jadavpur MP. “This is a historic moment and we must not spoil the opportunity of ousting the Left Front.”
Several other organisations such as CPI(ML)(Liberation), Birbhum Adivasi Gaota, Jharkhand Students’ Federation, Adivasi Sengel Avijan, Nari Ijjat Bachao Committee and Sangrami Shramik Union are all in the Mahato camp.
Does the forever-rebel Suman’s stance at such a time sound like an attempt to ease the cold relationship with his party and party chief? Only time will tell.