The life of former West Bengal Education Minister Partha Chatterjee, the prime accused in the teacher recruitment scam, could have been different had he not joined politics, admitted veteran Trinamool Congress leader Sovandeb Chattopadhyay, who played a key role in pursuing Chatterjee to give up his corporate job and join the party before the 2001 Assembly polls.
“I feel sad for Partha. I played a key role in introducing him to the world of legislative politics. At times I feel that his fate and life could have been different had I not introduced him into politics,” said Chattopadhyay, the state minister for agriculture and parliamentary affairs, in an informal chat with mediapersons at a Durga Puja pandal near his residence on Tuesday.
Chatterjee is currently under judicial custody over his alleged involvement in the multi-crore West Bengal School Service Commission (WBSSC) recruitment scam.
Chatterjee, an alumnus of Ramakrishna Mission Vidyalaya, Narendrapur, was introduced into student politics with Chhatra Parishad, the students’ wing of Congress, while he was doing his graduation in economics from Asutosh College.
His mentor in student politics was another veteran Trinamool Congress leader, late Subrata Mukherjee.
After completing his post-graduation in management from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare & Business Management (IISWBM) in Kolkata, Chatterjee had distanced himself from politics. He joined the Andrew Yule Group as a junior executive and rose to the rank of general manager (human resources) before he left the job and joined Trinamool before the Assembly polls in 2001.
In his fresh entry into politics, a key role was played by Sovandeb Chattopadhyay, who acted as the catalyst between Chatterjee and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Chatterjee’s entry into politics was marked by success. He contested on behalf of Trinamool Congress in 2001 from Behala (West) Assembly constituency and despite the landslide victory of the Left Front that year, Chatterjee won. Since then, he has been a five- time sitting MLA from that constituency.