Meet Anubrata Mondal, Didi’s Trusted ‘Keshto’ Who Gave Sleepless Nights to BJP's Babul Supriyo & SS Ahluwalia
On May 23, the day the general election result will be out, the Trinamool strongman expressed confidence that the BJP would receive a big blow in Asansol and Bardhaman-Durgapur from where its two sitting MPs are in fray.
File photo of Trinamool Congress leader Anubrata Mondal.
Kolkata: Known for his controversial statements and strong-arm tactics, the Trinamool Congress’ Birbhum district president Anubrata Mondal, popularly known as ‘Keshtoda’, is undeniably the deciding factor for the BJP’s fate in Bardhaman East, Bardhaman-Durgapur, Asansol, Bolpur and Birbhum Lok Sabha seats, which went to polls in the fourth phase of Lok Sabha election on Monday.
Always surrounded with heavily armed bodyguards, Mondal’s clout in this part of Bengal was evident when he was seen relaxed at his party office (when polling was underway) discussing lunch menus for his party cadres and guests.
“Polling was peaceful. I would say it was ‘beautiful’ polling. We have given medicines to all concerned a day before the election and it has worked. We are winning 100% and with a huge margin,” said a nonchalant Mondal.
On May 23, the day the general election result will be out, Mondal expressed confidence that the BJP would receive a big blow in Asansol and Bardhaman-Durgapur from where its sitting MPs — Babul Supriyo and SS Ahluwalia — are in fray.
Mamata Banerjee’s beloved ‘Keshto’ is the ‘betaaj badshah’ (uncrowned king) of these areas. “We gave them sleepless nights,” Anubrata said.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has gradually made deep inroads in the state over the past few years, is eyeing 22 of the 42 parliamentary seats in Bengal.
At present, it has the two Lok Sabha seats of Asansol and Darjeeling which were won by Union ministers Supriyo and Ahluwalia, respectively, in 2014.
While Supriyo is seeking a re-election from Asansol, Ahluwalia is contesting from the Bardhaman-Durgapur constituency.
A day before the poll, Banerjee’s trusted lieutenant was put under close watch and his mobile phone was seized by the Election Commission (EC).
However, Mondal continued to control the situation in his trademark, but ‘calm’ style throughout the polling day. “People will vote for Banerjee’s hard work,” he said.
Unlike the recent switchovers to the BJP in the state, Mondal is known to be a loyal soldier of Banerjee and has ensured that Birbhum and adjoining areas were in complete control of the ruling party since the Trinamool Congress came to power in 2011.
Not once but several times, he has categorically made it clear that he had no interest in becoming an MP, as he didn’t want to leave Birbhum.
“I am very happy in Birbhum. I don’t want to be detached from the people here. I will only go to Delhi when Didi becomes the Prime Minister. The day she quits politics, I will also retire,” he has said.
Since Monday morning, most of the media outlets had focussed more on Mondal’s activities than ‘celebrities’ like Supriyo and Moon Moon Sen whose fates were being sealed in polling booths.
Later, in the day, he added more colour to his controversial statements by offering a Rajya Sabha seat to his ‘nephew’ Anupam Hazra, who recently switched to the BJP.
Hazra, who is the BJP’s candidate from Jadavpur, was expelled from the Trinamool in January for alleged anti-party activities.
Hazra, who is the outgoing Bolpur MP and was in town to exercise his franchise, had gone to meet Mondal. He said it was a courtesy call as Mondal’s mother had passed away some time ago.
Welcoming Hazra’s gesture, Mondal said, “He is my nephew and he can come any day to meet me. If he returns to the TMC and admits his mistake, I can speak to Mamata Banerjee and make him a Rajya Sabha MP.”
Hazra, later, said, “There is no need to speculate anything. I went there to offer my condolences on the demise of his mother and seek his blessings. I didn’t know media persons had been called by him to make it look controversial. I condemn this.”
Hazra’s meeting with Mondal has triggered speculations in TMC and BJP camp, as well.
Many feel that with the Rajya Sabha MP offer, the Trinamool strongman has hinted at Hazra’s defeat in Jadavpur from where the ruling party has fielded Bengali actor Mimi Chakraborty.
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