Kolkata, May 2 : The rural face of Trinamool Congress (TMC) and former Union Minister of State for Rural Development in the Manmohan Singh government Sisir Kumar Adhikari looks to complete a hat-trick from Kanthi Lok Sabha constituency in Purba Medinipur district of West Bengal.
Mr Adhikari has completed over 55 years in public life representing people in the gram panchayat, municipality, Assembly and Parliament. But, at 77, polls still excite this veteran of Bengal politics as he has a point to prove. Ahead of the May 12 polls, Sisir Adhikari, the Trinamul candidate from Contai, unfailingly steps out for campaigning, spends time with party functionaries in the evening to take feedback from different parts of the constituency and draws up strategy on how to improve upon the victory margin.
“Whoever be the opponent, whatever be his or her strength, I do not take anyone lightly…. I contest the polls to win,” said Mr Adhikari,
The CPI (M) dominated the Kanthi Lok Sabha till 1999 when Trinamool’s Nitish Sengupta defeated its candidate. The Left party’s Prasanta Pradhan won in the next Lok Sabha election in 2004. But Sisir Adhikari wrested the seat from the CPI (M) leader Prasanta Pradhan in 2009 and Tapas Sinha in 2014.
In the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, Adhikari had won by over 1.29 lakh votes and in 2014, he defeated Tapas Sinha of the CPI(M) with the margin of 2,29,490 votes. “Sisir-da has tremendous mental strength to tackle any adverse condition. He makes it a point to prove his detractors wrong,” said a senior Trinamool leader.
“Politics is an addiction and this is the only thing that I have done with passion…. I have four sons, but I can’t remember whether I had ever taken them on my lap while they were growing up,” added Mr Adhikari
“Given his age and the extreme weather conditions, we are not allowing him to address more than two meetings,” said Dibyendu, Adhikari’s third son, a Trinamool MP from Tamluk.
Other than his eldest son Sirshendu, who looks after the family business, Adhikari’s two other sons — Subhendu, state transport minister, and Soumendu, the chairman of the Contai Municipality — are also public representatives.
“Once the elections are over, Sisir-babu’s doors are open for everyone…. He helps everyone irrespective of their political affiliations and that’s why people vote for him,” said a young man, standing near the Contai bus stand. The ruling Trinamool Congress has renominated Sisir Adhikari, who played a major role in the Nandigram anti-land acquisition stir, for the Lok Sabha election 2019 from Kanthi seat. CPI (M) has fielded Paritosh Pattanayak, while Congress has announced Dipak Kumar Das as their candidate. BJP has fielded Dr Debasish Samant as their candidate.
As per the Election Commission data in 2019, total number of electorate in Kanthi Lok Sabha seat is 16, 55, 438 of which 8, 56, 184 are male 7, 99, 237 female and 17 third genders voters. A total number of 1860 polling stations would be set up for voting. As per order of the Delimitation Commission in respect of the delimitation of constituencies in the West Bengal, parliamentary constituency no. 31 Kanthi is composed of the seven assembly segments such as Chandipur, Patashpur, Kanthi Uttar, Bhagabanpur, Khejuri, Kanthi Dakshin and Ramnagar Kanthi will vote during the sixth round of the seven-phase election on May 12. The result will be declared on May 23. UNI