Haripal MLA’s tryst with Singur destiny
It’s tryst with destiny of a different kind for Bharati Mukherjee, sitting CPI(M) MLA from Haripal in Hooghly district, who is contesting from the seat for the second time now. Snigdhendu Bhattacharya reports.Updated: May 03, 2011 16:41 IST
It’s tryst with destiny of a different kind for Bharati Mukherjee, sitting CPI(M) MLA from Haripal in Hooghly district, who is contesting from the seat for the second time now.
On December 18, 2006, Mukherjee, also a member of West Bengal Women’s Commission, visited Singur along with commission chairperson Jashodhara Roy Choudhury and other members. Around 11am, while visiting the homes of some of the industry supporters who had complained atrocities on them by anti-acquisition activists, Mukherjee and other members of the team faced agitation from the anti-acquisition supporters, who alleged commission’s partiality in favour of pro-industry supporters.
Following the agitation, the team returned, without even meeting the family of Tapasi Malik (then 17), whose charred body was found in a trench inside the small car factory compound that morning.
As destiny had its own way, courtesy delimitation, Tapasi’s locality, Bajemelia, within Kamarkundi-Gopalnagar-Doluigachha gram panchayat area, is now part of Mukherjee’s Haripal assembly constituency.
“That day all of us came to know the real identity of the women’s commission members. They were all CPI(M) cadres. We hate them,” said Manoranjan Malik, Tapasi’s father.
Not a single poster or wall graffiti for Mukherjee were spotted at Bajemelia, even two days ahead of the poll. She didn’t visit the area for campaigning, and her party was satisfied with only a bike rally along the village path.
“There was no way for Mukherjee could approach us and seek votes. We would have simply shut the door on her face,” said Nabakumar Koley, a state government employee and neighbour of the Maliks.
In 2009 general elections, Trinamool got 70% votes from Tapasi’s locality. Since December 2006, the number of CPI(M) supporters at Bejemelia has declined sharply. With Becharam Manna, the prime face of Singur movement, pitted against her, Mukherjee’s fight has only become tougher.
Mukherjee, however, said that she did visit Tapasi’s house. “We went there, but her parents were not at home. Tapasi’s uncle was the only person present and he did not talk to us,” said Mukherjee, a lawyer by profession.
She denied that her not visiting Tapasi’s locality even for poll campaign had anything to do with the December 2006 incident. “In our party, the zonal committee chalks out campaign plans. I canvassed according to the plans,” she said.
While Mukherjee is confident of winning again and also of retaining the 2006 winning margin of 22,000 votes, the scenario does not seem so favourable for her. According to the 2009 general election, the Opposition has a lead of about 800 votes over the Left in Haripal.
Her only concern is terror. “If people are allowed to vote freely in and around Singur, then my winning margin would surely be above 20,000,” she told HT.