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Business News/ Politics / Matua leader Mamata Thakur, journalist Sagarika Ghose: TMC's careful selection of Rajya Sabha poll nominees explained
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Matua leader Mamata Thakur, journalist Sagarika Ghose: TMC's careful selection of Rajya Sabha poll nominees explained

A look at each TMC candidate for Rajya Sabha, including journalist Sagarika Ghose and Mamata Bala Thakur, representing the Matua community.

Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Sunday announced their Rajya Sabha poll nominees- Sushmita Dev, Md Nadimul Haque, Mamata Bala Thakur, and Sagarika GhosePremium
Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Sunday announced their Rajya Sabha poll nominees- Sushmita Dev, Md Nadimul Haque, Mamata Bala Thakur, and Sagarika Ghose

Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Sunday announced their Rajya Sabha poll nominees- Sushmita Dev, Md Nadimul Haque, Mamata Bala Thakur, and Sagarika Ghose. The Rajya Sabha Polls are scheduled to ne held on 27 February. Amongst all, TMC's surprise  nomination of journalist Sagarika Ghose seemed to have caught attention. Sagarika Ghose was also subjected to abject trolling on social media for the Rajya Sabha Poll nomination. 

Four TMC candidates and one from the BJP will be elected to the Rajya Sabha. The TMC has 222 members in the Assembly while the BJP has 68. Others make up three seats, while one seat is vacant in the 294-member House.

Here's taking a look at what each candidate brings to the table for TMC

Sagarika Ghose

Sagarika Ghose is a first-time nominee and TMC's surprise selection. A journalist, an author, Sagarika Ghose has worked with several prominent news publications. The daughter of former Doordarshan director-general Bhaskar Ghose, she, like Derek O’Brien, will likely be the party’s voice in national media.

In 2012, TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee had angrily stormed out of a television show hosted by Ghose after taking offence at a question.

Mohammad Nadimul Haque

Another journalist, Mohammad Nadimul Haque is a two-time Rajya Sabha MP, having been sent to the Upper House of Parliament for the first time in 2012. He is the owner of the Kolkata-based Urdu daily Akhbar-e-Mashriq.

He was a member of the Rajbhasha Committee of the Railway Ministry between October 2009 and March 2012, a time when the TMC was in charge of the ministry. He also served as a member of the Passenger Services Committee.

Sushmita Dev

Sushmita Dev began her political career with the Congress and served as the president of the All India Mahila Congress. The daughter of veteran Congress leader and MP Santosh Mohan Dev and former Congress MLA from Silchar Bithika Dev, Sushmita quit the party in 2021 and joined the TMC and was nominated to the Rajya Sabha.

Mamata Bala Thakur

Mamata Bala Thakur assumes significance as she belongs to the electorally important Matua community in West Bengal. Mamata Bala Thakur is also is the daughter-in-law of Binapani Devi Thakur, who was known as “Boro Maa (elder mother)", the matriarch of the Matua Mahasangh. 

With this move, the TMC provides representation to the community that has a strong presence in the districts of North 24 Parganas and Nadia and is a crucial vote bank for both the ruling party and the BJP.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Binapani Devi’s eldest son Kapil Krishna Thakur was elected to the Lok Sabha from Bongaon. After Kapil’s sudden death in October 2014, a family feud ensued between his wife Mamata Bala and his brother Manjul who wanted his youngest son Subrata to get the ticket for the by-election from Bongaon. But the TMC picked Mamata Bala.

Manjul quit as minister to join the BJP, which gave Subrata a ticket from Bongaon for the bypoll. However, Mamata Bala won the election and Subrata came third. Manjul returned to the TMC a few months later. In addition, the charge of party affairs in the area was handed over to Mamata Bala.

The family feud worsened after Binapani Devi’s death in March 2019 and two Matua Mahasangha factions emerged, one pro-TMC led by Mamata Bala and the other led by Shantanu Thakur, Manjul’s eldest son. Shantanu defeated his aunt in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and is now a Union Minister.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sayantani Biswas
Sayantani is an editor with Livemint. She covers stories of International and Indian politics, conflict
Catch all the Politics News and Updates on Live Mint. Check all the latest action on Budget 2024 here. Download The Mint News App to get Daily Market Updates & Live Business News.
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Published: 12 Feb 2024, 11:36 AM IST
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