The local reporters of Diamond Harbour, a small town by the river mouth of Ganga, have reported that Abhishek Banerjee has told them he would not accept any ministerial berth in the Bengal government in the next 20 years, and will only work for strengthening the organisation.
Well, the young nephew of Mamata Banerjee is just 36-year old now. So, 20 years later he would be 56, a good age for taking charge. Incidentally, Mamata Banerjee is 66-year old now, and 20 years later she would be 86.
But why Abhishek, now officially number two in the TMC, declared it? Just recently he had dared the centre to come with a law banning entry in politics of two persons from the same family. “The day such a law will be passed, I’ll retire from politics,” said Abhishek. It was his way of projecting that there is nothing wrong with political dynasty, which had never got prominence in state-level politics earlier.
That is why Abhishek has to charter a new path. And he has planned it well. The BJP stalwarts targeted him in the recent assembly elections as the fountainhead of corruption in TMC. They alleged his involvement in coal smuggling from the government mines and cattle smuggling.
But, no charge against him has come to the stage of filing an FIR by CBI naming him. And the popular verdict showed the people of Bengal have ignored such charges. Abhishek now wants to utilise the situation in his favour. Taking advantage of this he has also said, “Sometimes dynasty is better than nasty.” A good quote indeed, and just in the characteristic style of her aunt Mamata Banerjee.
The TMC insiders say Abhishek is a changed man now. Earlier, they say, he was arrogant and given to extravaganza. According to media reports, his marriage with Rujira Naroola in Delhi was quite a posh affair. But to a large extent, Abhishek is a private person and is not known for showing off.
He survived a major car accident in August 2019. Afterwards, he started taking major responsibilities at the party. It was he who hired Prashant Kishor for political consultancy. And nowadays, he is seen propagating a sort of non-confrontationist politics. It was his tweet that forced the TMC supporters to retreat after they started pelting stones in the CBI office after the agency arrested four leaders, including two ministers of Mamata Banerjee’s government, recently.
Abhishek is an MP since 2014. That he is hugely popular in his constituency is evident from the fact that the BJP has not won a single seat in the South 24 Parganas district in the recent assembly election. Earlier, he appeared in public wearing white pyjama-kurta; but is now at times being seen sporting a t-shirt and trouser. Does this indicate a makeover to popularise himself as a new generation leader? Perhaps.
(The author Diptendra Raychaudhuri is a senior journalist based in Kolkata. He has a wide range of experience in covering West Bengal politics and has authored several books)
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