After Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, 'Dilli Chalo' seems to be the rallying cry for yet another member of his family, Sugata Bose, who is aiming to enter Parliament from Jadavpur seat which has in the past seen pitched poll battles between West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her Left rivals.
57-year-old Bose, a Harvard University professor, is the Trinamool Congress candidate for Jadavpur Lok Sabha seat. He is the grand nephew of Netaji, the founder of the Indian National Army (INA).In his maiden poll contest, Sugata Bose is pitted against painter Samir Aich of Congress and seasoned CPI(M) leader Sujan Chakraborty.Jadavpur votes in the last phase of the 16th general elections on May 12. The constituency has 15.7 lakh voters.
Sugata Bose's mother, three-time MP Krishna Bose, had fought on a TMC ticket from this seat in 2004, but had lost to CPI(M)'s Chakraborty. This time, as he campaigns for votes here, Sugata Bose is counting on his mother's links with the constituency to fight the 'outsider' tag.CPI(M)'s Chakraborty claims that the Harvard professor does not even stay long enough in India to understand the ground realities.
But besides his political opponents, another concern for Bose is campaigning by a large number of his own family members for the Left candidate.These family members are unhappy with Sugata Bose as he refused to support the demand for declassification of the files which can reveal the mystery surrounding the disappearance of Netaji in 1945.
"He (Sugata Bose) has told us that declassification is a non-issue. He has betrayed us and (Netaji) Bose's legacy and so we are asking people not to vote for him," says Chandra Bose, another grand-nephew of the freedom fighter.Some members of Netaji's family have also complained against Sugata Bose to Election Commission for "misusing" the name of the freedom fighter for political gains.
In a letter to the poll watchdog, they said that Sugata Bose has been conducting his campaign accompanied by a child wearing spectacles and uniform like Subhas Chandra Bose.Netaji had famously given his cry of 'Dilli Chalo (On to Delhi)' to motivate the soldiers of INA as they fought against the Britishers.
CPI(M)'s Chakraborty is seen as a strong candidate for the seat and would be confident of his chances this time against Sugata Bose, whose mother he had defeated here in 2004 by a margin of more than 89,000 votes.But Chakraborty lost the seat in 2009 when National Award- winning musician Kabir Suman won by a margin of 56,000 votes on a TMC ticket from here. But Suman later rebelled against TMC and has not been given a ticket this time.
Both Sugata Bose and Chakraborty have been campaigning extensively in the constituency, which has a mix of urban, sub-urban and rural voters.The prime issue in these polls is development and, as one would expect from an academician, Sugata Bose is focussing his campaign on education.
His Congress opponent is established painter Samir Aich, who is famous for his experimental works.Aich has been known to be vocal about a number of social issues and claims he has always been close to the people as a painter and social activist."So, my entry into politics is gradual and natural," he says.
BJP, too, has put up a candidate here - Dr Sarup Prasad Ghosh.Once a CPI(M) stronghold, Jadavpur was TMC chief Mamata's launchpad into national politics in 1984 when, as a Congress candidate, she defeated veteran Communist leader Somnath Chatterjee from the constituency.
In 2011, when TMC swept the state by ousting the Left, the party won six of the seven Assembly segments under the Jadavpur Lok Sabha seat. Former West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had lost to Manish Gupta of TMC from the Jadavpur Assembly constituency in that election.