Calcutta, Aug. 17: The Congress today took back 10 party rebels suspended for contesting against Trinamul nominees in the Assembly polls last year, the move aimed at rebuilding the organisation in the run-up to the panchayat polls.
“We have re-inducted 10 rebels keeping in mind the rural polls after the Pujas. These leaders will help rebuild the organisation,” AICC general-secretary Shakeel Ahmed said over the phone from Delhi.
Of the 10, four are from Murshidabad, three from North Dinajpur and one each from North 24-Parganas, South 24-Parganas and Malda.
While Behrampore MP Adhir Chowdhury had fielded the four Murshidabad rebels, Raiganj MP Deepa Das Munshi had backed the three North Dinajpur dissidents.
Ahmed said the decision was conveyed to state Congress chief Pradip Bhattacharya last night. “The Bengal leadership has been asked to immediately involve them (the rebels) in organisational work in the districts,” he added.
Bhattacharya termed the decision “belated” and told a media conference today that the delay had cost the party dear because three of the 13 suspended leaders had already defected to the Trinamul Congress.
Those who switched over to Trinamul are Ram Pyare Ram, Abdul Khalek Mollah and Hamidul Rahman.
“We had requested the AICC several times to revoke the suspension of the rebels after we received reports that they were being wooed by Trinamul. But the AICC leadership delayed the process and Trinamul inducted three of the rebels,” Bhattacharya said.
A Trinamul general secretary said the three had approached the party leadership last year with a request to induct them.
Anirul Islam, one of the Congress rebels who had unsuccessfully contested the Sagardighi seat in Murshidabad, said he was “happy to return to the party”.
“I have been associated with the Congress since my student days. I am happy I will be able to work for the party again,” he said.