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Cong bickers over poll tickets

Agartala, Dec. 25: The local Congress leadership has firmly opposed the nomination of state Youth Congress president Sushanta Chowdhury from Matabari constituency in Gomati district, demanding that a local candidate be selected in his stead.

“We are not going to accept this lying down this time. Earlier, we accepted Maharani Bibhu Kumari Devi because of her status and background, but this time we will ensure that a local candidate is nominated. We have also put our views on record in a formal letter to the PCC president,” said Samar Sarkar, president of the Matabari block Congress committee.

According to Congress sources, PCC president Sudip Roy Barman himself was behind the move. He persuaded his followers, Chowdhury and union leader Samar Roy to demand six seats for the Youth Congress in the upcoming Assembly elections.

“He did this to switch over to the safe Banamalipur (No-9) Assembly constituency by shunting out legislator and former PCC president Gopal Roy to a constituency outside Agartala town. But his ploy did not work because the screening committee headed by Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi resolved that all MLAs would be re-nominated from their own constituencies,” a source said, adding that Roy Barman was now trying to accommodate his protégé, Chowdhury, in Matabari.

Trouble has also been reported from Khayerpur constituency where Roy Barman is trying to foist Youth Congress secretary Baptu Chak-raborty instead of senior party leader Ratan Cha-kraborty who narrowly lost the seat in 2008. Followers of Ratan Chakraborty had even heckled Roy Barman for promoting Baptu who is not from Khayerpur. In retaliation, Roy Barman expelled block president Sunil Deb.

Deb was Chakraborty’s close aide and the move further added to the resentment brewing among Congress workers and supporters. “I do not wish to comment on all this. You know what is happening. I will bring all this to the notice of the party high command and wait for their reaction,” Chakraborty said.

Sources said trouble was brewing in at least 10 other constituencies over the question of nomination as Roy Barman was working in tandem with leader of the Opposition Ratanlal Nath and trying to put up nominees of their personal choice. “If this goes unchecked, it will lead to a disaster because people in almost all constituencies want local candidates. Imposing candidates from outside will create problems and mar the party’s chances in the election,” a source said.