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Congress betrayal finger at Trinamul

Calcutta, Oct. 13: The Congress today accused Trinamul of “betrayal of trust” after Abhijit Mukherjee won the Jangipur bypoll by a wafer-thin margin of 2,536 votes.

Congress leaders said Trinamul refrained from fielding a candidate against Abhijit with “the political motive of jeopardising his poll prospects”.

“There was a general perception among Congress workers that Mamata Banerjee’s party would back Abhijit so that he won by a comfortable majority. But in reality, Trinamul activists not only carried out a whisper campaign against Abhijit but also voted for the BJP to jeopardise his poll prospects. This is a betrayal of trust,” state Congress president Pradip Bhattacharya said.

Murshidabad strongman and Behrampore Congress MP Adhir Chowdhury accused Trinamul activists of voting for the BJP candidate in Hindu-dominated areas and the CPM nominee in the Assembly segments where Muslims are in the majority.

“We have information that Trinamul activists participated in the polls despite not fielding a nominee,” he added.

Abhijit did not want to comment on Trinamul’s alleged role in the poll outcome. “It is your conclusion that Trinamul did not vote for me. I cannot comment until a booth-wise analysis is done,” he said.

Raiganj Congress MP and Mamata-baiter Deepa Das Munshi urged the leadership to go “all out” against Trinamul. “The bypoll results have proved that the Congress can win elections without aligning with Trinamul,” she said.

Murshidabad Trinamul leaders said some workers “may have gone against the party line to vent their grievances”.

“The leadership’s decision against fielding a candidate in Jangipur did not go down well with the rank and file. We could have emerged as a force to reckon with in Murshidabad had we contested the bypoll. Some of our workers may have gone against the party line to protest the leadership’s decision,” said district Trinamul chief Mohammed Ali.

He parried the question whether some Trinamul workers had voted BJP. “I will not say whether they voted for the BJP, but they did not work for the Congress candidate.”

A Trinamul general secretary in Calcutta attributed Abhijit’s poor victory margin to the Congress’s “anti-people policies” at the Centre. “Voters in Jangipur gave a fitting reply to the Congress for its anti-people policies,” he said.

The CPM termed the result a “moral defeat” for the Congress. “The CPM candidate won in four of the seven Assembly segments. This is a moral defeat for the Congress candidate,” CPM state secretariat member Rabin Deb said.