Pranab son, Avijit, likely to enter politics

Mukherjee, 48, who resigned as a senior officer from a public sector undertaking recently, will be welcomed into the Congress family on March 11, state party sources said here on Monday. “We will announce it officially on March 11 at the West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee office in Kolkata,” district Congress president Asit Mal said. He declined to say if Pranab Mukherjee will be present to formally welcome his son into the party.

Avijit, who had earlier held the post of general manager with the public sector Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL), submitted his resignation last week to contest the elections. The Mukherjees hail from Birbhum district’s Meriti area near Kirnahar in Nanur block. The family’s traditional Durga Puja attracts a large number of people, with Pranab Mukherjee himself performing the role of a priest.

What fuelled the speculation was his presence at a Congress meeting at Nalhati in Birbhum district on November 3 last year. While the district Congress president tried to play down his presence saying it was a goodwill meeting after Eid and Bijoya Dasami organised by a non-political organisation, party workers and leaders present almost mobbed Mukherjee, demanding that he ought to contest from Nalhati constituency in the next Assembly elections.

“Though I am not directly involved in politics, I’m not averse to politics either; I know very well what it is. Both my father and grandfather have dedicated their lives to politics. The people might have a lot expectation from me as the son of Pranab Mukherjee,” Avijit was quoted as saying.

When asked to confirm the news, West Bengal Pradesh Congress chief Manas Bhunia said he would be happy if Avijit decided to fight the Assembly polls on a Congress ticket. “We’re in search of good candidates and his political background is beyond any question and he indeed, inherits the Congress culture. Being a citizen of India, he can always contest and I’m happy he is finally joining the party.

“In my present disposition, I’d like to concentrate on development work,” said Mukherjee, who, after receiving a mechanical engineering degree from Jadavpur University in 1984, served SAIL for the last 22 years.

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