The Trinamool Congress has withdrawn support from the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the Centre and the Congress has reciprocated by pulling out of the West Bengal government, but in a gesture of “courtesy” the former will not field a candidate in the coming by-election for the Jangipur Parliamentary constituency that President Pranab Mukherjee’s son Abhijit Mukherjee is contesting.
September 22 was the last date for filing nominations for the by-election and while 11 candidates have filed nominations for the election to be held on October 10, the Trinamool has not nominated any candidate.
“After the recent developments that led to the alliance no longer being in place, there were many who approached me and said that our party should contest the election. But Mamata Banerjee had given her word to Pranab Mukherjee and she always keeps her word,” said Subrata Saha, the Trinamool Congress MLA from Sagardighi — one of the Assembly segments that make up the Jangipur constituency.
The Jangipur seat fell vacant when Mr. Pranab Mukherjee resigned his membership of the Lok Sabha to contest the Presidential election. He had represented the constituency since 2004 and the Congress has now nominated his son to contest the by-election.
“No base for TMC”
However, the Congress leadership pointed out that the Trinamool hardly had a base in the area and contesting the election “would have exposed the Trinamool’s organisational weakness.”
“When the election was announced, the Congress and the Trinamool were in an alliance. It was already decided that the Congress would field a candidate,” said Omprakash Mishra, general secretary of the West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee (WBPCC).
Although the Bharatiya Janata Party has fielded a candidate with the Trinamool not in the fray, a three-way contest has been avoided. The fight will most likely be between Abhijit Mukherjee and the Communist Party of India (Marxist)’s nominee, Mujaffar Hossen.