Pranab Mukherjee's son to enter poll fray in West Bengal

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Pranab Mukherjee
Suri (WB), Mar 9: Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee's son Abhijit Mukherjee has quit his job in the Steel Authority of India to contest the coming Assembly election in West Bengal on a Congress ticket.

On Monday, his resignation was accepted by the SAIL board and he would be released in a day or two, according to sources in the public sector giant.

Though Abhijit, who held the post of General Manager (Corporate Social Responsibility) in the SAIL, refused to comment on his political future, well-placed sources said he is expected to contest from Nalhati Assembly constituency in Birbhum district.

Birbhum is the home district of the Finance Minister and has remained a stronghold of the Congress long after it was replaced by Trinamool Congress as the principal opposition party in the state.

Speculation over his joining politics was rife ever since he actively participated in some public welfare programmes in the district in the past three months.

Political observers got a scent of his intention to join politics when recently a branch of a public sector bank was inaugurated at Nalhati which is widely believed to be an initiative of Abhijit, though the man himself was not present at the inaugural.

Congress sources said Abhijit might start his election campaign from next Thursday or Friday at Nalhati.

Tarun Ghosh, a close aide of Abhijit and the likely election agent for him, said, "Arrangement for his stay at Nalhati has been made. A draft programme for filing nomination by him has also been prepared by district Congress leaders."

Though Nalhati at present is represented by Forward Bloc MLA Dipak Chatterjee, in the last Panchayet election Congress had a good showing there.

Interestingly, local Trinamool Congress leaders took exception to the possibilty of Abhijit's candidature, but soon they changed their opinion.

According to Congress sources, the party may get three tickets in Birbhum as the alliance partner of Trinamool Congress. There are a total 11 Assembly seats in Birbhum. Hasan constituency, which is adjacent to Nalhati, is now represented by Congress MLA Asit Mal.

PTI

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