Mamata disowns brother for opposing party nominee, refutes ‘dynasty politics’ barb

The BJP has consistently targeted Mamata Banerjee for promoting dynasty politics, with particular reference to her nephew Abhishek

File photo of Mamata Banerjee (photo: PTI)
File photo of Mamata Banerjee (photo: PTI)


In a purported effort to nullify the BJP’s allegation of promoting “dynasty politics” in her party, Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday “disowned” her younger brother Swapan 'Babun' Banerjee after the latter expressed his indignation over the party re-nominating Prasun Banerjee from the Howrah Lok Sabha seat in West Bengal.

In the process, Banerjee sounded keen to convey the underlying message that she was ready to tackle dissenting voices in her party in the run-up to the polls, even if that meant having to start the clean-up from her home.

The TMC chief's expression of displeasure against her brother came in the wake of Babun expressing his intentions to contest as an independent candidate from the seat and take on the TMC nominee.

Minutes after Banerjee’s announcement, though, Babun took the proverbial U-turn from his earlier position, stating, "I consider Didi’s rebuke as a blessing" and “sort things out with her at the soonest after meeting Didi at home”. Babun, currently in Delhi attending personal matters, seemed to have also shifted from his earlier stand of contesting the polls as an Independent.

“I will say this directly, some people get exceptionally greedy as they grow up. They must play their games keeping the family aside. I don’t consider him to be a member of my family. From today, my immediate family, my extended family of people and I are snapping all relationships with him,” Banerjee told reporters in Jalpaiguri, sounding annoyed.

“No one should call him my brother,” she said, “You can consider him an independent individual. But please do not associate my name with him anymore. I announce that my family and I are dissociating ourselves from him once and for all.”

Babun, who heads the TMC sports cell and holds administrative positions in multiple sports bodies and clubs of the state, expressed his opposition to the candidature of former footballer Prasun Banerjee, stating, “I can’t forget the insults he hurled at me during a general body meeting of the Mohun Bagan club”.

He told a regional TV channel that he was considering fighting the seat as an independent candidate, though he knew that Mamata Banerjee would disapprove of it.

“There are people who always aspire for tickets whenever an election comes, be they for MP or MLA down to the councillors. If I were to agree to the demands of my family members, I would be promoting dynasty politics. I don’t promote such politics. They have the freedom to fight elections on their own. I dislike such greedy people,” the TMC chief retorted.

Asked whether she thought that BJP had a role in this, Banerjee said, “Of course the BJP is behind this. They have always played the game of breaking families during elections by offering crores of rupees. I have seen this on multiple occasions before. They are the ones alleging dynasty politics. But here I am, setting an example of how I don’t promote family politics. I promote the politics of people.”

The BJP has consistently targeted Banerjee for “holding power back in her family” and promoting dynasty politics, with particular reference to the rise in the party of Abhishek Banerjee, her nephewand current TMC national general-secretary. Abhishek is widely considered as the current number two in TMC and Banerjee’s heir apparent.

Among the staunchest critics of the Banerjee family is BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari, Bengal’s leader of opposition and a former TMC leader himself, who designates the TMC party as “pishi-bhaipo (aunt and nephew) private limited company”.

In a video post on Facebook, Babun later rubbished speculations about his joining the BJP as “fake news”.

The chief minister, however, maintained, “He has already confessed to having relations with the BJP. What more is there to say?” Babun responded to his elder sister’s statement saying, “She is my senior in the family and has every right to scold me. She must have her reasons for doing so and I consider that my blessing. I will sort things out with her as soon as I meet her.”

Asserting the need to support Prasun Banerjee in Howrah, the TMC chief said, “Our responsibility of ensuring a win for our candidate now increases manifold. I urge all my supporters to ensure that Prasun Banerjee wins in Howrah since some greedy people, who I don’t support, have now challenged him.”

She pointed out that Prasun Banerjee is an Arjuna awardee, and stated that the BJP nominee from the seat, Rathin Chakraborty, was once a TMC mayor of Howrah who was “embroiled in recruitment irregularities on a mammoth scale”.

About yet another disgruntled party leader Arjun Singh, who has already announced his decision to take on the TMC nominee in his home turf Barrackpore following his falling off the party’s candidate list, Banerjee stated that Singh was still an MP of the BJP who hadn’t forfeited his post till date.

“It’s his prerogative to choose which party’s ticket he wants to fight on. Our candidate is Partha Bhowmik, the state irrigation minister, and I hope he will get the full support of our people,” she said.

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