Ex Judge Up Against Young Leader Who Wrote Khela Hobe In Bengal’s Tamluk

Ex Judge Up Against Young Leader Who Wrote

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Abhijit Gangopadhyay resigned as judge of Calcutta High Court and joined BJP days later

Tamluk (West Bengal):

Among the most-watched Lok Sabha contests in Bengal this time is the fight for Tamluk seat, where the BJP has fielded former Calcutta High Court judge Abhijit Gangopadhyay and the Trinamool has chosen its young leader and head of its social media cell Debangshu Bhattacharya.

Mr Gangopadhyay, who resigned as a judge earlier this month and joined the BJP days later, made headlines in 2021 for his strong observations and directions to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to investigate alleged irregularities in the recruitment of teachers by the West Bengal School Service Commission.

The 61-year-old has come under criticism following his switch from judiciary to politics, with the Trinamool Congress alleging political motives behind his rulings in the alleged teacher recruitment scam.

At a Trinamool march soon after his BJP entry, Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee had described Mr Gangopadhyay as a “BJP babu who was sitting on the bench” and said she will ensure his defeat if he contests the election. With the BJP announcing him as a candidate in its fifth list released last night, the stage is set.

Ms Banerjee had also said that the former judge has become a leader “after denying jobs to thousands of students”. “Be ready. Wherever you contest from, I will send students to fight you.” For the past couple of weeks, buzz over Mr Gangopadhyay contesting from Tamluk was doing the rounds. Anticipating this, the Trinamool fielded 27-year-old Bhattacharya to take on the former judge.

Mr Bhattacharya has been actively involved in student politics as a member of the Trinamool Chhatra Parishad and has been handling the party’s social media presence since 2022.

He is also credited with writing the Khela Hobe campaign song in the run-up to the 2021 Bengal elections. The Khela Hobe slogan was first used in Bangladesh by Awami League leader Shamim Osman. The Trinamool appropriated the slogan and wrote a song around it, highlighting the local political flavour and the Bengal government’s welfare schemes. With catchy music, the campaign song was an instant hit, so much so that several other parties tweaked and used it in their campaigns.

Once a Left bastion, the Tamluk constituency has been with the Trinamool Congress since 2009. But there is a twist. The seat was won in 2009 and 2014 by Suvendu Adhikari, who is now among the top state leaders of the BJP. Mr Adhikari, then with the Trinamool, had vacated the seat after being elected as an MLA in the 2016 state polls. In the by-election that followed, his brother Dibyendu Adhikari was elected MP. In the 2019 polls, Trinamool fielded Dibyendu Adhikari again, keeping in mind the family’s influence in the area, and predictably, he won. The next year, however, Suvendu Adhikari switched to the BJP. His brother Divyendu held on to the seat and switched to the BJP just a week back.

This means that while the seat has been with Trinamool for 15 years now, it is, in effect, Suvendu Adhikari’s turf. And the Trinamool will have to move mountains to retain it this time.

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