Lok Sabha polls 2024 | Face-off: Khagen Murmu vs Prasun Banerjee

The two will be contesting for the Malda North.
Last Updated : 06 May 2024, 04:16 IST
Last Updated : 06 May 2024, 04:16 IST

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Khagen Murmu (BJP)

Khagen Murmu’s post on his X handle categorically specifies how his stance has changed over the years.

The April 28 post reads: “Congress, Left and Trinamool were given chances by Bengal’s people. They’ve handed Bengal from thieves to dacoits. Now, only Ram is our hope.”

After 40 years with the CPM, which believes religion is a personal choice and not for political gain, Murmu joined the BJP in 2019. A Santhali leader, Murmu is influential in North Malda, having fought for Adivasi rights.

He was a four-time CPM MLA from the Habibpur Assembly constituency from 2001 to 2019. CPM had called him a “traitor” but he won the seat convincingly in 2019 with a vote share of over 37 per cent, baffling many who questioned his shift to a right-wing outfit.

A Bachelor of Arts from Magadh University, Bihar, he rose to the ranks by becoming a member of the Malda Zilla Parishad in 1993 and holding onto it till 1998. A first-time MP, Murmu, was speaking in the Lok Sabha on Dec 13, 2023, when the security breach happened and gas canisters were thrown in Parliament, creating a huge furore.

Murmu landed himself in controversy when he kissed a woman on his campaign trail in Chanchal’s Srihipur village in April this year. The TMC raised a hue and cry, saying the viral video was proof that the BJP is anti-women. The woman, however, defended Murmu, saying it was “an act of affection.”

Prasun Banerjee (TMC)

“He is the macho man, all action and no gang,” goes a rap song on Prasun Banerjee’s X handle, where Bengal’s most popular hero and MP Deb is seen campaigning for this former cop. He served as the Inspector General of Raiganj range before taking voluntary retirement.

A 2006 batch IPS officer, he served in many parts of Bengal, including South Dinajpur, Malda and Balurghat. BJP’s Amit Malviya slammed Banerjee for intimidating the Election Commission. The BJP IT cell had posted a video of Banerjee making remarks on paramilitary forces and the Election Commission.

The post shows Banerjee saying, “I tell all the BSF and paramilitary to stay within the law. We will also stay within the law. Let the elections be free and fair. If the paramilitary tries to intimidate, I am here (Main Hoon na)." The BJP castigated him, saying he exemplifies all that is wrong with the West Bengal police.

He has been a cop in real life but has played many such roles in his reel-life too. An actor, filmmaker, and director, Banerjee has acted in many films and played a super cop in Desher Mati and an intelligence officer in Guddi and an advocate in Sona Roder Gaan. He has directed Shakuni Pasha and Govind Nihalani’s Droh Kaal for the stage. He has been active during the floods and the pandemic, being on the ground himself. Both candidates also face Congress’ Mosque Alam.

Follow our 2024 Lok Sabha polls coverage here

Published 06 May 2024, 04:16 IST

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