RSS Helping Pranab Mukherjee's Son, A Congress Candidate, Contest LS Polls from Jangipur: Mamata Banerjee
The Trinamool Congress chief accused the Congress of reaching a 'secret understanding' with the BJP in the state in order to keep her party at bay.
File photo of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. (Image: PTI)
Kolkata: While criticising the Congress for coming to a political understanding with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Communist Party of India (Marxist), West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday claimed that the RSS is helping former President Pranab Mukherjee’s son, Abhijit Mukherjee, to contest the Lok Sabha elections from Jangipur in Murshidabad district.
Addressing a public meeting at Chopra in North Dinajpur district, Banerjee said, “Our mission is to oust the BJP from Bengal. I would like to tell you that even the Congress has a secret political understanding with the BJP… both are the same. The RSS is helping Pranab Mukherjee’s son and Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury to win this Lok Sabha election from Jangipur and Baharampur.”
Abhijit Mukherjee will contest the elections from Jangipur Lok Sabha seat on a Congress ticket. Chowdhury, meanwhile, has held the Baharampur seat since 1999.
Elections in the two constituencies, both located in Murshidabad district, are scheduled in the third and fourth phases on April 23 and April 29, respectively.
West Bengal accounts for the second-largest Muslim population in the country, nearly 2.47 crore, making up nearly 27.5% of the state’s population.
Muslim voters are expected to play a decisive factor in influencing the results for the Trinamool Congress as well as the BJP and the Congress in Murshidabad, Dinajpur and Malda. The largest population of Muslims in the state, 67%, lives in Murshidabad. This is followed by Malda, with 52% of the Muslim population, and North Dinajpur, with 51%.
Almost 22% of the minority community of the state lives in Kolkata.
The minority community was the deciding factor behind the success of the Left parties till Trinamool supremo Mamata Banerjee came to power. Banerjee managed to acquire Muslim support by taking to them the Sachar Committee report, which ranked West Bengal as one of the worst states for Muslims. Banerjee managed to convince the minority community that the Left had done nothing for them and urged them to vote for the Trinamool, promising them development and prosperity.
Refuting Banerjee’s claims of a “secret understanding”, state Congress chief Soumendra Nath Mitra accused the Trinamool of having “a secret deal” with the BJP.
“This will be clear after the poll results. Her comments on Abhijit Mukherjee and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury show that she is trying to polarise Muslim votes. This is her political strategy and we are confident her party will lose in both the places.” Banerjee told News18.
Jishnu Basu, RSS’s general secretary in south Bengal, also rubbished Banerjee’s allegations.
“She is doing politics here to woo a section of voters. She is saying all this in frustration because she knows that the people will reject the TMC in this election due to their lack of vision,” he said. “The RSS works for the social welfare of the people. Our job is not to work for a political candidate.”
Pranab Mukherjee was the president during the last three years of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government’s second term. Earlier this year, he was conferred the Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian honour in the country.
In June last year, there was resentment among Congress leaders over Mukherjee’s decision to attend a RSS function in Nagpur. Mukherjee, who had refused to justify his decision, had said, “Whatever I have to say, I will say in Nagpur. I have received several letters and phone calls, but I haven’t responded to anyone yet.”
Senior Congress leaders such as Jairam Ramesh, Ramesh Chennithala and CK Jaffer Sharief had reportedly written to Mukherjee and asked him to reconsider his decision. Former finance minister P Chidambaram had also urged Mukherjee to take the chance to tell the RSS what is wrong with their ideology.
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