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Candidate choice sparks unrest

Silchar, Jan. 18: Congress leader and former Union minister Sontosh Mohan Dev, in a party meeting here last night, threatened to quit the election panel of the district committee here in protest against the “irregular nominations” for the panchayat polls, slated for February 12 in the Barak Valley.

The district leaders had gathered at the local party office for a news conference last night, ahead of the polls.

Dev said some members of the district Congress were allegedly conspiring to deny nominations to persons from the fishermen’s community in Sonai block of Cachar district.

He lashed out at Congress MLA in Sonai block, Enamul Haque Laskar, and Silchar district Congress committee president Arun Dutta Mazumdar for “virtually ignoring me in the matter of party nominations for the panchayat elections”.

A section of the district Congress committee leaders, however, tried to justify its stand that “no irregularity” was committed in the nominations of the party candidates.

Spokesperson for the district Congress committee Partha Ranjan Chakravarty told reporters that his party would seek votes on the strength of the rural development since 2007. However, many district Congress leaders expressed their dissatisfaction as well.

Such allegations are rife in Sonai, Borkhola and Kathigorah blocks in Cachar district.

There was also discontent after Congress leader and six-time MLA from Hailakandi, Gautam Roy’s announcement that the party would nominate his wife Mandira Roy as the candidate for the Algapur Assembly byelection.

Assam PCC spokesperson Pradeep Dutta Roy said in a statement last night that the declaration has created confusion, as the consensus among the partymen in Hailakandi was that a “honest, educated and young candidate” should be nominated. The byelection was necessitated after the demise of the AGP legislator and former state minister Shahidul Alam Choudhury.

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