Nalhati (WB), Apr 13 : Ever since senior Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee's son Abhijit Mukherjee announced his candidature from Nalhati constituency in Birbhum district, this predominantly rural seat is in the limelight. Abhijit quit from a senior position in the Steel Authority of India to contest the elections.
A Forward Bloc preserve since 1977 when the Left Front government took over the reins of West Bengal, Nalhati returned Kalimuddin Shams, a state minister, twice to the Assembly and after his death Dipak Chatterjee held the baton.
History would perhaps have repeated itself this time too, but for the sudden entry of Abhijit Mukherjee into the poll ring, completely changing the complexion of the game.
Though the victory of Abhijit looks certain judging by the people's mood, the Mukherjees are taking no chances.
In his first election meeting on April 11, Pranab argued that though his son was a newcomer to politics, he would turn out to be a ‘good MLA of the people' if he was elected.
“He would work for the development of the area,” he said.
Abhijit on his part said, “I am a son of the soil. My father and grandfather are known as leaders from Birbhum.”
Nalhati is predominantly a rural belt and Nalhati town lacks urban facilities. Roads are in a bad condition and so is the drainage system.
There is no big industry in the area and the only establishments providing jobs to the local people are the stone mines and the crushing units.
That the voters are displeased with the sitting MLA Forward Bloc's Dipak Chatterjee's ‘none-too-bright' performance was reflected in the polls since the 2006 Assembly election.
In the 2006 Assembly election, Forward Bloc candidate Dipak Chatterjee secured 50.41 per cent votes whereas his opposition Congress candidate Abdul Walli Mollah got 41.72 per cent share. PTI