Kolkata: A former IPS officer, who lodged an FIR against Mamata Banerjee and was considered very close to the Left Front government during Jyoti Basu's tenure, is among five former police officers contesting the West Bengal Assembly polls on Trinamool Congress tickets.
Former IPS officer Rachpal Singh is contesting from Tarakeshwar against Minister for Fire Services Pratim Chatterjee who has been fielded by LF ally Forward Bloc. Singh, as the DIG (Presidency Range), had lodged an FIR against the Trinamool supremo when she was Youth Congress President for violence at a rally at Barasat in North 24 Parganas in 1994.
"When I found that this woman (Banerjee) was fighting a lone battle during the Singur agitation against a ruthless government, I decided to join the party," he said. Asked what his priority would be if his party was voted to power, Singh said, "I want to give the people a government which functions judiciously, where people get priority and so that the party doesn't interfere in one's personal life."
Five ex-top cops are contesting the West Bengal Assembly polls on Trinamool Congress tickets.
Another former police officer fighting on a Trinamool ticket is Sultan Singh. The former additional director general of police (pollution control board), who is Trinamool candidate from Bally said, "I worked very closely with the Left Front government and I was very much liked by the then chief minister Jyoti Basu. "But after working with the government I have understood that it cannot function neutrally because it is guided and dominated by the CPI(M)," the former IPS officer said.
Pitted against three times CPM MLA Kanika Ganguly, Singh claimed, "CPM is a regimented party and the government cannot function without the party's diktat.But, here in Trinamool Congress we have the freedom of speech and can express our opinion." Asked about his prospects in the election, Singh said, "People are unhappy with the performance of the government and I am confident that I will win."
Hyder Aziz Safwi, another former IPS officer, contesting from Uluberia East Assembly constituency against CPM newcomer Mohan Mondal, said, "I have worked closely with the government and I know that this government is dominated by party culture which is a serious constraint for proper functioning.
"To them the party comes first and then the people. This cannot be a sign of good governance. So, after retirement I joined the opposition camp," Safwi, who retired as DG (Fire and Emergency Service), said.
Upen Biswas, a former CBI additional director general who cracked the Rs 800 crore Bihar fodder scam, has been fielded by the Trinamool Congress from Bagda (SC) Assembly Constituency against Forward Block candidate Nirmal Sikdar.
"People are frustrated with this government and they are so desperate to see a change that they are giving donations so that I can contest the election," he said. "I don't have to pay a single paisa to contest the election, not even one month's pension. The people of Bagda are giving the entire money," Biswas said.
Abani Mohan Joardar, another former IPS officer who is contesting against CPM MLA Subenoy Ghosh from Krishnagar North constituency in Nadia district, is also confident of defeating his political rival.