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This one's still stuck on dynasty

What makes Debiprasad Roy a local heavyweight is his proximity to Gandhi family, writes Sutirtho Patranobis.

india Updated: Apr 12, 2006 17:56 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis

Meet Debiprasad Roy, Jalpaiguri's Mithuda.

Now Mithuda had never won an election — he lost two LS and one assembly election, though from different areas.

What makes him a local heavyweight is his proximity to the Gandhi family and he almost wears its on his sleeve.

So when you talk to him, the 58-year-old Congress candidate slips into the late seventies and the eighties, when he spent time with Sanjay Gandhi and later, Rajiv and Indira Gandhi.

He recalls the five days in 1979 that he spent in Tihar jail with Sanjay Gandhi. It all began about five to six years earlier, when Roy was a front-running Chatra Parishad leader in North Bengal.

Sanjay Gandhi spotted him and asked him join the All India Youth Congress (AIYC). By 1978, Roy had become the general secretary of the Youth Congress.

But Roy won't let his Gandhi links go to his head. He has just finished a meeting with party workers in Dholagram village. He is contesting an assembly election for the first time since 1982 but says he is still in touch with villagers and their problems.

Roy's tryst with the Gandhi family didn't end with Sanjay Gandhi's death in 1981. When Rajiv Gandhi became Prime Minister in 1984, Roy saw himself as a Rajya Sabha member, a rather young one at 36.

In the '90s, he returned "home" — as he likes to put it— to devote time to Jalpaiguri and its burgeoning problems.

Lack of employment, he says, is a big worry. His main rival this election is CPI(M)'s Gobind Roy.

While the sitting MLA is from Forward Bloc, Jalpaiguri has been a Congress stronghold. Mithuda intends to keep it that way.

First Published: Apr 12, 2006 17:56 IST