Being son of a president always puts added pressure on him to perform as a public representative and carrying on the work started by his father is the biggest challenge ahead, Congress candidate from Jangipur Abhijit Mukherjee has said.
"Being the son of a stalwart like Pranab Mukherjee is always an added pressure. It has its plus and minus points, its own challenges and disadvantages. Because, you will be always compared with him whatever you do," Abhijit told PTI in Jangipur.
"People will compare me with my father. This is the minus point. And, the plus point is I don't need any introduction. There are constraints. One has to live with those constraints," the 54-year-old former executive of SAIL, said.
After being elected President, Pranab Mukherjee had resigned from the seat and Abhijit, then a sitting Congress MLA from Nalhati assembly constituency, had contested and retained it in a by-election with a slender margin of 2,536 votes in contrast to his father winning by margin of 1,28,149 votes in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls.
The sharp drop in the margin had raised eyebrows as the Trinamool Congress had not fielded a candidate in the bypoll while BJP's vote share rose from 2.3 per cent in 2009 to 10.3 per cent in 2012.
Abhijit was banking on the organisational prowess of Murshidabad strongman and state Congress chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury in the district to sail through. "Jangipur constituency and Murshidabad are the strongholds of Congress. The organisation is in a very good shape due to the hard work of Adhir Chowdhury," he said.
Abhijit said that his biggest challenge would be to continue the development work started by his father in the constituency. "The question is to continue the development work started by my father. There should not be any comparison with my father. The question is I have to continue the development work," he said.
Trashing the findings of some opinion polls, Abhijit said, "Some opinion polls have already stated that I will lose. Let those political pundits come and contest the polls. I am not a born politician. I left my secure corporate life to join politics. I took up the challenge and snatched victory in the Nalhati assembly seat after four decades."
On the slender margin of his victory in the Jangipur parliamentary bypoll in 2012, he claimed that nearly 1.5 lakh voters who worked outside the state, were not present.
"Nearly 1.5 lakh voters were out of my constituency during 2012 by-election. About 70 per cent of them are Congress voters. This time they will vote, so you will get to see the difference."
Asked whether Trinamool Congress fielding a candidate would make a difference, Mukherjee said, "Yes it will make a difference. But whether the difference will be in my favour or against me, it is difficult for me to say. Had it been the case that all the TMC votes were polled in my favour then the difference would have been noted in the last panchayat polls."
To a question he rejected the possibility of post poll alliance by his party with Trinamool Congress. "I don't think so. There can't be any alliance. During the 2011 assembly poll in the state, I was the biggest supporter of the alliance because our main aim was to dislodge the Left. But after the 2011 polls the TMC started treating us at par with CPI(M), which is not acceptable," he added.