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Trinamul raises Malda bypoll pitch

Malda, Jan. 1: Trinamul today started its campaign in earnest for the Malda Englishbazar bypoll.

Its two key leaders in the district — Sabitri Mitra and Krishnendu Narayan Choudhury — today went after the Ghani Khan clan, blaming them for the “backwardness” of Malda.

Krishnendu’s switch from the Congress to Trinamul has necessitated the Englishbazar election. Krishnendu has been made the state tourism minister in the Trinamul government.

Sabitri, the state minister for woman and child welfare and Malda district Trinamul president, urged supporters to start working in the Englishbazar constituency and also in other parts of the district.

Speaking at the 15th anniversary of the party celebrated here this morning with Choudhury and other party leaders, Sabitri said: “We will soon have the Englishbazar Assembly bypolls, followed by panchayat elections. Our appeal to all the workers and supporters is to strive to oust the Congress, which has been at the helm of affairs in Malda over decades and yet, the district continues to remain backward.”

She said the Congress leaders were only “cashing in on the image and reputation of the late A.B.A. Ghani Khan Choudhury”.

“They are not doing anything else. It is a shame that we have two MPs (Abu Hasem Khan Choudhury and Mausam Noor who are both of the Khan Choudhury clan) and seven MLAs from the Congress. But the district has not progressed much in terms of development,” she said.

“Even the zilla parishad is run by the Congress but has abysmally failed to address demands, issues and problems of the rural populace across Malda.”

Sabitri said: “Every year, an MP gets Rs 5 crore as his local area development fund. We want to know how the MPLAD funds have been utilised over the years.”

Krishnendu was equally critical of the Congress. “Since the demise of Ghani Khan Choudhury, the Congress has become a party where no initiatives are taken or considered by the leaders and peoples’ representatives,” he said.

Later in the day, Abu Hasem, the junior Union minister for health, said: “Those who are raising fingers at us should introspect. They have been MLAs for two-three terms. What have they done for the town? We had made one of them the civic chairman of Englishbazar (Krishnendu) and also the MLA. What has he done in the area?”