Islampur, May 19: The only rebel Congress candidate to have won the election this time is a lonely man.
Ever since the election results were declared, Hamidul Rehman has been finding himself out in the cold on his own, trying desperately to side with either the Congress or the Trinamul Congress.
Sources in Trinamul said Hamidul had approached Chowdhury Abdul Karim, the party MLA from Islampur tipped to be granted a berth in the cabinet by Mamata Banerjee.
“Hamidul had expressed his desire to join us, but the leadership gave him the cold shoulder. He had approached Chowdhury Abdul Karim. He had chosen to toe Deepa Das Munshi’s line and had contested against the alliance candidate and been expelled by the Congress,” said Javed Akhtar, the Trinamul election cell secretary for North Dinajpur.
Hamidul was one of the three rebels in the district whom the Raiganj MP had backed. But Chopra, from where Hamidul contested against alliance candidate Sheikh Jallaluddin of Trinamul, is not part of Deepa’s constituency. Rather, it is in Darjeeling Lok Sabha constituency. There is little love lost between Deepa and Trinamul chief Mamata. The CPM candidate for Chopra was Anwarul Haque.
Hamidul, however, denied that he had tried to join Trinamul and said it was a slander campaign against him. “I had never approached them,” he said.
Rather, Hamidul admitted, he had approached state Congress president Manas Bhuniya, seeking re-entry into the party.
“He asked me to apologise in writing saying that I had committed a mistake by fighting as a rebel. I will do no such thing. I have won and if the Congress needs me they will approach me. Deepadi is still with the Congress and she is with me,” he said.
Hamidul has also been accused of inciting violence in his area. The post-poll violence in Chopra claimed its first victim today with Mohammad Bhairuddin breathing his last at the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital. The 45-year-old had been referred to the medical college in Siliguri following Tuesday’s attack on the house of his first cousin and former local CPM MLA, Mohammmad Mahimuddin.
The attacks were carried out allegedly by the supporters of Hamidul.
According to police sources, Hamidul sympathisers had attacked a group of people who were working on a jute field owned by Bhairuddin. When he tried to resist, Bhairuddin was attacked. The attackers then set upon the house of Mahimuddin at Piajpokhar, and injured several of his family members and brothers.
As news of the death spread, the district administration deployed para-military forces in Chopra. Bhairuddin’s body was handed over to his family in the afternoon after a post-mortem.
Hamidul’s election agent and the Chopra block Congress president, Ashok Roy, denied that any of their men were involved in the violence.