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President’s son Abhijit Mukherjee looks for a safe seat

According to well-placed sources, Mukherjee junior had visited Yadav not only out of courtesy but also to explore chances of contesting from a Yadav-dominant seat on Bihar-Jharkhand and West Bengal border.

Having retained the family seat of Jangipur with a thin margin of just 2,536 votes in the by-election last October after Pranab Mukherjee got elevated to Rashtrapapti Bhawan, Abhijit is considering the option of finding a seat with better safeguards. Abhijit’s visit has come under adverse scrutiny of the Congress leadership.

Sources said given the high density of Muslim voters in Jangipur, the Congress is already considering shifting Moradabad MP Mohammed Azharuddin to Jangipur. The former cricketer had campaigned extensively during the last bye-poll and had received popular reception from the voters. Azhar  also has some business interests in West Bengal being on the board of a few companies.

In the bye-poll, the ruling Trinamool Congress, despite having walked out of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) by then, had not put up a candidate against Mukherjee. Despite this, the Congress had barely managed to scrap through last year. With Trinamool too in the fray, the chances of Congress retaining the seat with its present MP looks remote.

Sources said the president’s son could have also sought to use the jailed leader’s good office to open a dialogue with the Left, with whom the president too enjoys cordial relations. Yadav has excellent working relations with CPM and gifted it the Bhagalpur seat in 1999. Bhagalpur has a sizeable Yadav, Bengali and Muslim presence and it is currently represented by Shahnawaz Hussain in Lok Sabha.
 
There are few other seats on the Bihar-West Bengal border with sizeable Bengali-speaking Muslim and Yadav populations, which may be eyed by the Mukherjee scion.
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