Pradipta Tapadar Diamond Harbour
Stakes are high for Trinamool cadres in this sleepy town in the suburbs of Kolkata with party supremo and chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek fighting his debut poll, billed as a prestige battle, for a seat won by rebel TMC leader Somen Mitra, who resigned and switched over to Congress earlier this year.
Sporting rimless glasses and gelled hair, 26-year-old Abhishek may seem the antithesis to his aunt’s ‘maa-mati- manush’ image, but he is viewed as political heir to ‘Didi’. Besides Abhishek, BJP’s Abhijit Das, Abul Hasnat of CPI(M)
and Md Qamaruzzaman Qamar of Congress are seen as the main players among 16 contestants for this seat on the eastern banks of Hooghly river that has over 13 lakh electors.
Political analysts say Abhishek’s nomination for the Lok Sabha polls was a matter of time, after he was introduced to politics by Mamata herself during the victory rally in 2011.
One of the few prominent faces of TMC, besides his ‘pishi’ (paternal aunt) Mamata, Abhishek is also the president of newly-formed Trinamool YUVA. His quick rise to the upper echelons of TMC has attracted criticism from Mamata’s detractors, who say she is promoting her elder brother Amit’s son when she has been a staunch critic of dynasty politics.