He is the face of Trinamool`s youth wing `Yuva`. Mamata Banerjee`s nephew Abhishek Banerjee has finally taken the electoral plunge these elections after years of careful grooming. For the past few years he has been silently working behind the scenes to organize the youth, engage with them and enhance the party`s social media presence.
An MBA graduate and businessman, as he gears up for the big battle, this reticent Banerjee scion speaks out for the first time on national television. In an Exclusive chat with Headlines Today during his campaign in Diamond Harbour, Banerjee gets candid about politics, his aunt and what the road ahead for the Trinamool Congress was likely to be post elections.
Q: How does it feel getting so much support in the campaign trail?
It feels amazing because wherever we are going in the campaign trail, people are coming out and supporting in large numbers and its been a wonderful experience. I feel overwhelmed with the kind of support I am receiving in the state and I am quite sure that this support will only go on in the days to come.
Q: Finally, you have taken the plunge into electoral politics, how confident are you about success?
I am only focusing on the work at this point of time. I believe that if you do good work, the results will ultimately follow. Our only area of focus in this point in time is be with the people and we are not fighting any battle against any political party, we are fighting this battle to establish the democracy in national level. Like Mamata Banerjee has restored democracy after coming to power in 2011. In last 34 years, people never got a chance to exercise their votes so now people are exercising their voting rights. So I am quite sure that this democracy has to be brought up in larger level.
Q: How big an advantage is the fact that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is your own aunt?
No there is no advantage or disadvantage to this because a party is a elected family and the party has given me the responsibility to contest the election. I am quite indebted with the kind of support I have received from the people. I am sure that after this election, the kind of support, affection, love and blessing the people will bestow on us, it will leave indelible mark in the years to come and the opposition will have no say.
Q: Being a youth and interacting with so many of them today, what is the sense you are getting on the ground?
I am quite sure that they will play an active role in the days to come and I have seen the kind of role the youth have played over the years especially in the freedom movement, I consider this as the second Independence Movement of India. Nothing has changed right from the time we have gained independence and I am quite sure that this is a struggle to establish all the progressive works throughout India not only in Bengal.
Q: Do you now want to take the `Poriborton` slogan from Bengal to the national level?
Yes, absolutely that`s the agenda, to be pro-people. We are not for NDA, we are not for UPA, and we are only for the people. I only understand progress and development, nothing else.
Q: Are you very close to Mamata Banerjee. You have a better insight into her mind. Do you actually believe that she is eyeing the Centre right now?
People want her at the Centre. Not only me but all the people of the state want her as the Prime Minister of the country. We know the kind of contribution Bengal has given over the years to Indian democracy; Indian independence movement right from Mother Teresa to Swami Vivekananda to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose to Kazi Nazrul Islam, India has given the captain of the Indian cricket team. Even Bengal has given the President of the nation. So why not the Prime Minister. The people of Bengal are quite confident that its now or never. So we will choose Mamata Banerjee at the helm of the centre for a better India, for a better tomorrow.
Q: You got Anna Hazare onboard before he did his u-turn. How big is corruption an issue this time?
Corruption is a very important issue actually and we are strictly against this. I believe that we have to continue this fight till the time it is absolutely removed from the country.
Q: How big do you think is the Modi challenge this time?
There is no challenge at all. The question people are asking is there any Modi wave at all. There had been a Modi wave; he cannot be contesting from two seats. There is no Modi wave, no UPA wave, no NDA wave. There is wave of anger, frustration, and depression. People want a government who can look after their interests, who can deliver the promises they are making before the elections.
Q: Even if you emerge as the 3rd largest party as claimed by your leader, do you think you will be in a position to dictate terms at the centre?
No that`s too early to take a call. It depends on the permutation-combination that we will be experiencing post 16th of May. We want a commoner who can look after the people, who can serve the interest of the people and who can take the nation at a different part altogether, who can ensure jobs for the young generation.
Q: Are you proposing Federal Front for that?
I think yes, absolutely. As I said it`s too early to take a call at this point of time, but the people will decide who the next Prime Minister of India is.
Q: Anna refused to support your party. How big a blow is that?
It is his personal comment and I would not like to comment on that. He is a very respected man and I have immense amount of respect for him. We have seen the kind of movement he has continued to fight for the welfare of the country. Anna Hazare has clearly stated that Mamata Banerjee at this point in time is the best Chief Minister that the country, we don`t need to say anymore.
Q: Do you want her to be the best Prime Minister as well?
The people of the state want her, not only me.