Pranab Mukherjee’s son joins TMC, lauds Mamata for ‘stopping BJP’

By, Kolkata
Jul 06, 2021 12:07 AM IST

Abhijit Mukherjee, a former Congress Lok Sabha member from West Bengal and son of late President Pranab Mukherjee, joined the Trinamool Congress (TMC) in Kolkata on Monday

Abhijit Mukherjee, a former Congress Lok Sabha member from West Bengal and son of late President Pranab Mukherjee, joined the Trinamool Congress (TMC) in Kolkata on Monday.

HT Image
HT Image

“Mamata Banerjee stopped the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Bengal. I feel that under her leadership this may become possible in India. I am joining the TMC as a primary member. Had I done so earlier (before state assembly polls), people would have thought that I have an eye on some prime position. They cannot do so now. Let the TMC utilise me in whatever way it wants. I am still active,” Mukherjee, 61, said at the TMC headquarters after joining the party on Monday afternoon.

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He was welcomed into the TMC by state minister Partha Chatterjee and party’s leader in the Lok Sabha Sudip Bandopadhyay.

Chatterjee said Mukherjee had approached the chief minister through her nephew and TMC national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee.

“I am grateful to Mamata Didi and Abhishek Babu for letting me in,” said Mukherjee.

Though Mukherjee was not a leader of high stature in the Congress, his leaving was seen as a blow to the party. However, Bengal Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said, “It is not a question about the Congress getting strong or weak. He is the son of the great Pranab Mukherjee. He must have thought that joining another party is the right thing to do. I don’t want to comment on his decision.”

Mukherjee said, “I left my job and joined the Congress in 2011. My father never asked me to join politics. He left the decision to me. I was not holding any post in the Congress. I don’t even know whether my membership in the party has been renewed.”

Before 2011, Mukherjee worked for Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, Maruti Udyog Limited and the Steel Authority of India as a corporate executive.

He became an MLA from Nalhati in Birbhum district in 2011 when the TMC came to power by ending the Left Front’s 34-year-long regime. The TMC and Congress had contested the elections as allies.

“My victory from Nalhati became possible entirely because of the anti-Left storm Mamata Banerjee raised in 2011. I had no role to play in that,” said Mukherjee.

He subsequently won the Jangipur Lok Sabha seat in Murshidabad district in the 2012 by-poll after his father vacated the seat. He won the seat again in 2014 general elections.

Mukherjee lost the Jangipur seat in 2019 to TMC’s Khalilur Rahaman. On Monday, he thanked some TMC leaders in Murshidabad for inspiring him to join the ruling party.

Mukherjee’s sister, Sharmistha, is a Congress leader in Delhi. He did not want to comment on her.

Sharmistha, however, expressed her disapproval by tweeting one word, “SAD!!!” at 4.34 pm.

The siblings made their differences public in December last year when publishing house Rupa wanted to publish the late President’s final volume of memoirs. While Abhijit Mukherjee demanded that the publication be stopped until he approves the final manuscript, his sister took to Twitter to declare that not only was the book approved by their father but also that Abhijeet should refrain from “cheap publicity”.

Pranab Mukherjee was admitted to a hospital on August 10 last year for a surgery to remove a clot in his brain after he fell down at his Rajaji Marg residence in Delhi. The senior Congress leader, who served as the 13th President of India from 2012 to 2017, also tested positive for Covid-19 at the same time. Mukherjee died on August 31 at the age of 84.

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