Former Kolkata mayor Sovan Chatterjee and his associate Baisakhi Banerjee resigned from the BJP on Sunday after the former TMC minister was given ticket against his wish to contest from Behala West constituency.
Sovan requested the BJP leadership that he wanted to contest from Behala East but the party has given him the ticket to contest from Behala West. The other bone of contention was ticket denial to Baisakhi.
In a letter to BJP State President Dilip Ghosh, Sovan mentioned, “I fondly remember how you took the initiative of inducting me into the party in 2019. You have always been encouraging but a few minutes back, I got a call from Shiv Prakash ji (National Joint Secretary, Organisation) who told me that the party has decided to give me ticket from Behala West. Also, the party has decided not to give Baisakhi Banerjee, Co-convenor, Kolkata Zone any ticket from anywhere. I feel extremely humiliated and pained to accept this decision as being a public representative for thirty six year.”
His letter reads, “As a Mayor and minister, I have contributed to the development of not only Behala, but entire Kolkata. My commitment to the people of West Bengal at large cannot be denied even by my Opposition parties. But the party’s decision not to give me nomination from Behala East is a moral defeat for me and I have never compromised with my principles.”
On the context of Baisakhi Banerjee’s resignation, he mentioned, “Whenever, I have interacted with you, I clearly said that Baisakhi and I have contributed jointly and in a very small span of time, she has managed to garner huge support in the entire Kolkata zone, especially in Behala. But you have decided to overlook her contribution and have decided not to give her an opportunity to contest the election. Therefore, I tender my protest against that also.”
In August 14, 2019, Sovan Chatterjee joined the BJP and then many in the political fraternity questioned that how he will survive in politics due to his hibernation for nearly two years (after resigning from the TMC in November 2018) coupled with health related issues.
On October 29, 2019, Sovan and Baisakhi sprung a surprise after they met West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at her Kalighat residence on the occasion of ‘Bhai Phonta’ (Bhai Dooj).
Then, sensing that Sovan, Mamata’s once blue-eyed boy ‘Kanan’ (as he was fondly called), may rejoin the TMC, the BJP reached out to him. Then, the first one to approach him was Arvind Menon (BJP National Secretary) followed by other senior party leaders over telephone.
On August 24, 2020, Menon called on Sovan at his South Kolkata residence and held an unscheduled closed door meeting for more than an hour amid rumours of Sovan planning to re-join TMC.
Then, on Sovan’s possible return to the TMC, Baisakhi had said, “It is a fact that we had joined BJP but the experience was different… not the way as we have thought. All of you know, Sovan has always been very active in politics. But you can see, he is politically non active. Now the BJP has to decide how they want to utilise Sovan.”
On November 2018, Sovan has resigned from the post of Kolkata Mayor and as a Minister for Fire and Emergency Services and Housing after his alleged differences with Mamata.
Later, it came to know that Mamata was reportedly unhappy with Sovan’s lack of interest in day to day administrative/civic responsibilities due to his legal battle for divorce with his wife Ratna.