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Rediff.com  » News » Left has done nothing, it'll pay for its mistakes: Pranab's son

Left has done nothing, it'll pay for its mistakes: Pranab's son

Last updated on: April 8, 2011 16:47 IST

'Trying to imbibe dad's compassion towards politics'

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Poriborton (change) is the buzzword in West Bengal as the state gears up for the six-phase assembly polls, the first phase of which is scheduled on April 18. With the Congress-Trinamool Congress alliance emerging as the favourite to sweep the state, the Left Front has vowed to reorganise itself to ensure that its three-decade rule does not come to an end.

In Bengal, the results cannot be predicted, but one thing's assured it's going to be a fight to the finish. But the good news is that change is here. This is visible from the fact that corporate honchos have joined the fray like never before. And setting an example is none other than Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee's son Abhijit Mukherjee. After bidding goodbye to a cushy public sector job to join the Congress, he is now contesting the polls from the Nalhati constituency in Birbhum district near the Bengal-Jharkhand border.

Clad in a pink cotton kurta and pyajama, with a pair of sunglasses and a cap to beat the heat, he managed to put on an untiring smile as he walked through the tiny by lanes of Pakha village, about 300 km from Kolkata. rediff.com's Indrani Roy Mitra caught up with Jr Mukherjee during his campaign trail. Here is what he had to say. . .

On what motivated him to join politics:


Though I am not a man of politics, it runs in my blood. My father and grandfather Kamada Kinkar Mukherjee dedicated their life to the Congress party. Hence in my heart, I always had the urge of doing something if I got a chance. This time, I got an opportunity and I took the plunge. It's a wonderful feeling to step into my forefathers' shoes.

On getting tips from his father -- Pranab Mukherjee:

He is always backing me up. Having watched him closely at work has been a great experience. I am always learning from him, trying to imbibe his integrity, passion and commitment to politics.

Video: Dipak Chakraborty

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Also see: Complete Coverage: Assembly Elections 2011


Image: Abhijit Mukherjee campaigns in Pakha

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'Quitting corporate job cost me Rs 45 lakh annually, but no regrets'

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On toiling for the election campaign:

Aram haram hain. I have been in the corporate environment for years. I have enjoyed all the comforts, but I gave those up by choice. The world of politics is a different one and I am enjoying it to the fullest

On any regrets on giving up his corporate job:

Nothing at all. You see, the moment I decided to quit my job, I calculated that my yearly loss would turn out to be roughly Rs 45 lakh, as I could not avail of the voluntary retirement scheme. It's a huge amount of money if you come to think of it. But then, I took the decision consciously. No one forced me to do anything. Hence, I don't have any reason to look back.

On coping with the initial hiccups in politics:  

Politics, as I told you, is a new ball game for me. And I am still a learner. But I am getting great support from my party members. They are helping me at every step. I am grateful to them for paving the way for a novice like me.

 


Image: Abhijit Mukherjee interacts with villagers during his campaign trail in Pakha
Video: Dipak Chakraborty
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'People from different sectors will revitalise politics'

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On trying to ring in a corporate culture into his party:

It's always good to have new people from different fields in the political system. It revitalises the system and also adds new dimensions to it.

For instance, I got the jeep that I am using for my campaign registered in a day. It's indeed a remarkable feat. I bought this vehicle in Punjab and got it registered in the town of Siuri in Birbhum!

Normally, the process would have taken six months. But since I have spent years in the corporate sector and also in New Delhi, I know what it takes to expedite things. This jeep is to me what Chetak was to Rana Pratap.

 


Image: Mukherjee meets a village elder
Video: Dipak Chakraborty
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'Left has done nothing in Bengal over the years'

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On his confidence in winning the elections:

It's a sure shot chance. There are no two ways about it. The air is laden with optimism and if the popular response is any yardstick to go by, we will definitely win this election.

On the Left Front's chances in the polls:

People here are seething with discontent. The Left Front has not done anything over the years and it's time it paid for its mistakes.

 


Video: Dipak Chakraborty
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'Mamata Banerjee is the agent of change in WB'

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On his immediate tasks if he wins:

I will focus on infrastructure; it's in a shambles. I will do everything possible to better the lives of the people in these villages. My skills as a mechanical engineer will come in handy in this respect. I have been hearing complaints about the misuse of the below poverty line cards and Indira Awas Yojana schemes. I will look into them and stop corruption at every level.

On his choice as the next chief minister of West Bengal:

Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, of course. She is the agent of change in West Bengal.

 


Image: Mukherjee takes a break from his campaign in Pakha village
Video: Dipak Chakraborty
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