KOLKATA: In its bid to take on West Bengal's "oppressive" Trinamool Congress, rights group Aakranta Aamraa on Saturday announced Jadavpur University professor Ambikesh Mahapatra, who was arrested for circulating emails mocking Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, will contest the coming assembly polls.
The forum comprising "victims of human rights violations under the Mamata Banerjee regime", also announced the candidature of Pratima Dutta, wife of murdered green activist Tapan Dutta.
While Mahapatra would contest from Behala East constituency, Pratima would in the fray from Domjur in Howrah district. Both would contest the polls as independents.
The forum has sought support from all the opposition parties including the Congress, the Left Front as well as the BJP for its electoral endeavour.
"The decision to contests the polls is more of an experimental venture to try sending a true peoples' representative to the assembly who will be the voice of all those who have been oppressed, tormented and attacked by the barbaric Trinamool regime," said Forum convenor Arunava Ganguly.
Admitting contesting the polls was a tough task especially with "limited resources", Mahapatra said the contesting the polls was only a manifestation of the peoples' desire to see an end to the Trinamool regime.
"We have sought the support of all the political parties which are opposed to the Trinamool. I am not fighting for myself but for the people of this state none of whom are safe under this regime," said Mahapatra who was arrested in 2012.
He along with a neighbour were put behind bars for circulating a collage of photographs of Banerjee and party leader Mukul Roy with some dialogues of Satyajit Ray's detective masterpiece "Sonar Kella", showing the duo discussing how to get rid of party leader Dinesh Trivedi, who was forced by the chief minister to give up the railways portfolio.
Dutta, who has been fighting for justice after her husband Tapan was shot dead in 2011 for opposing the filling of a wetland in Bally in Howrah, said the motive for her to contest the polls is to "unmask the criminal-politician nexus".
Former Supreme Court judge and vehement Banerjee critic A.K. Ganguly extended his support to the twin candidates.
"From democracy to secularism, from police to the common people, none are safe under this barbaric regime which has no respect for law or for the people. The need is for the opposition parties and democracy loving people to unite and prevent this undemocratic party (Trinamool) from coming to power again," he said.