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BJP tries to rope in retired justice Ashok Ganguly for Lok Sabha bypolls

The party wants him to contest from Tamluk.

kolkata Updated: Oct 18, 2016 14:02 IST
Ravik Bhattacharya
Ravik Bhattacharya
Hindustan Times
A K Ganguly,BJP,Trinamool Congress
Ashok Ganguly stepped down from the State Human Rights Commission in January 2014 after he was targeted by many for sexual misconduct that was never proved, or even registered as formal charge.(HT Photo)

Bengal BJP is trying to rope in 2G spectrum scam judge retired justice Ashok Ganguly to contest the Lok Sabha bypoll in the state. According to sources, talks are on between Ganguly and state BJP leaders.

Justice Ganguly who was the former chairman of state Human Rights Commission is a trenchant critic of the Trinamool Congress government, and was a part of pro-democracy public platforms in the state.

BJP wants to field Ganguly as a contestant in the bypolls scheduled on November 19 in the state. Two Lok Sabha constituencies Tamluk and Cooch Behar, apart from apart from Manteswar assembly constituency are supposed to go to the polls.

Read: Justice Ganguly claims innocence in resignation

“Both sides have expressed their willingness. At present, preliminary talks are on with the retired justice. If everything goes right, he will feature on the top of our list of candidates for Lok Sabha bypolls. We want him to contest from Tamluk in East Midnaore,” a senior BJP state leader told HT.

“If he agrees we will send his name to our central leadership in Delhi to take the final call. However, all depends on how the talks proceed,” the senior leader said.

Trinamool Congress has nominated Dibyendu Adhikari as its candidate from Tamluk. He is the incumbent MLA from Contai. Adhikari is the younger brother of state transport minister Subhendu Adhikari.

Most BJP leaders think highly of A K Ganguly as a face who commands respect among a large section of the state’s residents as a campaigner against corruption. (HT Photo)

Earlier BJP roped in prominent faces such as magician P C Sorcar and grand nephew of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose to contest polls in Bengal on its ticket.

“After 2014 Lok Sabha polls justice Ganguly expressed the desire to be part of BJP. However, talks were not fruitful then. We maintain a good relation with him. He is one of the most respected in Bengal,” said a senior state BJP leader.

Read: Bengal governor accepts AK Ganguly’s resignation

Interestingly, former CPI(M) strongman and Lok Sabha MP (later expelled from party) Lakshman Seth has already expressed the desire to join BJP and contest the Tamluk seat.

The state BJP leader, however, are not keen on giving him a ticket. Seth became a controversial figure after the Nandigram violence in 2007 and slipped into virtual anonymity after being expelled from the party in 2014.

Post retirement, Supreme Court Ganguly worked as guest faculty at National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata. He also went on to be chairperson of the West Bengal Human Rights commission, where his role was highly appreciated by human rights activists.

After allegations of ‘unwelcome conduct of sexual nature’ which was never proved, justice Ganguly resigned from the state human rights commission. Trinamool Congress leaders stridently criticised Ganguly during the controversy in 2013/14. Later ministry of home affairs stated that there was no case against him.

In 2014 a new platform ‘Save Democracy Forum’ was formed under the chairmanship of Ganguly. The apolitical forum included leaders of both Congress and CPI(M) and other well known personalities from different fields.

Congress leaders Abdul Mannan, CPI(M)’s Sujan Chakraborty, city’s former mayor Bikash Bhattacharya were included in the platform.

First Published: Oct 18, 2016 14:02 IST