EC threatening police through arbitrary transfers at BJP's behest, claims TMC candidate and ex-top cop Humayun Kabir
Humayun Kabir joined the TMC in February after quitting the police. A decorated officer, Kabir was the Police Commissioner of Chandannagar and has held many senior positions within the force
A woman in her late 80s, sitting on a stool, used her off-white pallu to rub sweat from her forehead. She complained about how a thief entered her home while everyone was sleeping, but found nothing of value to take.
A man in a yellow striped T-shirt and blue denim jeans listened to the complaint intently. This scene is hardly out of the ordinary for ex-IPS officer Humayun Kabir, a Bengal top cop turned politician and now the TMC candidate from the Debra constituency of West Medinipur.
Kabir is taking on the BJP's Bharati Ghosh, another IPS officer, in Debra constituency.
Kabir joined the TMC in February after quitting the police. A decorated officer, Kabir was the Police Commissioner of Chandannagar and has held many senior positions within the force. He came into the limelight in January 2021 when he arrested some BJP supporters for purportedly raising “goli maro” slogans at a rally by Suvendu Adhikari, the former TMC minister and now BJP candidate from the high-profile Nandigram seat.
“The ground reality is that the people of Bengal have already decided that they want their own daughter, West Bengal chief minister and Trinamool supremo Mamata Banerjee,” Kabir says. "For me, it is a very exciting experience to see how much people love Mamata. They are showering me with love and wishes.”
His opponent Ghosh is a controversial political figure. During the 2019 Lok Sabha election, she took on the TMC candidate Deepak Adhikary aka Deb, a Bengali film superstar, in Ghatal constituency and lost.
During the 2019 election campaign, she threatened to bring youths from Uttar Pradesh to "drag TMC men out, beat them up like dogs”.
The Supreme Court recently stayed an arrest warrant against her ― in connection with the 2019 Lok Sabha poll violence case for alleged voluntary causing hurt, wrongful restraint and attempt to murder ― till the end of the West Bengal Assembly elections.
“The situation on the ground is very clear. The people of Debra do not believe, support or like Ghosh. She has many cases of corruption against her. People of Debra know that she is involved in corruption cases related to sand. There are also reports of her alleged connection with the cow smuggling cases and various other issues of extortion. The people of Ghatal do not want a corrupt person as their representative they want someone who will work for the development of the area and of Bengal,” Kabir says.
Kabir speaks more about his party supremo. “It is undoubtedly true that the Trinamool Congress will win this election. Under Mamata, the party has achieved remarkable development in the sectors of education, healthcare, road, women empowerment. Look at this area. Water connections, new roads, Swastho Sathi cards, Kanyasri scheme, and many other developmental schemes have benefitted the people. This time Didi is saying khela hobe (game on) and BJP will be thrown out of Bengal.”
Kabir says he is now pouring through the manifestos of all political parties. “I am surprised to see the BJP making big promises like making public transport free for women. These are jumlas. The BJP is ruling Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and many other states. Show me one state in which such a scheme has been implemented. Or do they not think the women of these states deserve such a scheme?”
Debra's history is rife with political activism. In the late 1960s in the Debra-Gopiballavpur area, the Naxalite movement took place under the leadership of Santosh Rana who later fought elections and became an Independent MLA from Gopiballavpur in 1977.
The constituency has a significant SC-ST population and is a Hindu-dominated area. Considered a stronghold of the Left, the TMC has won this seat in the past two elections.
Taking aim at his opponent, he accused the Centre of misusing the Central forces. “I do not know why BJP is so scared. Look at Bharati Ghosh. She is surrounded by the Central security forces all the time. and it is unfortunate that on camera the Central forces in her security is telling people to vote for the Kamal (BJP). I have presented video proof and complained to the Election Commission about this.”
Kabir also claimed that the EC transferring top IPS and district officers, starting with the Bengal DGP, is an intimidation tactic.
“You know at whose behest the EC is working. The Centre. West Bengal has many remarkable officials who take their jobs seriously. I feel anguished that such ploys are being used to pressurise my fraternity,” claims Kabir.
He further rubbished the BJP's allegations that the Bengal’s police is working at the behest of the TMC and says he can't believe the way the BJP is painting honest officers. “The Bengal police officers are highly competent and committed to protecting the people of the state.”
Asked about joining the TMC, Kabir says he's just exercising his democratic rights. “If I had joined the TMC during my tenure as an officers then there would have questions of conflict of interest. But I am no longer an officer and have the right to chart my own path.”
Condemning the attack on Mamata, Kabir demanded a "thorough probe".
Not properly investigating such a serious case would be a very sad state of affairs for Bengal, he added.
“The people of Debra want development.Mamata is known for development. People will not buy BJP's lies. They will vote for Didi (Mamata Banerjee). The electorate of Debra will reject the BJP this time as well. I am confident of winning and serve the people of Debra along with the local leadership of the TMC. Khela Hobe.”
The author is a fellow at the Delhi Assembly Research Centre and a freelance journalist who writes on issues of governance and politics. He can be reached at @sayantan_gh
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