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TMC wins in Ghani backyard

Calcutta, Feb. 28: The Congress suffered an upset in citadel Malda with its candidate for the Englishbazar bypoll losing to Trinamul. The Congress came third in the constituency.

More humiliating for Congress nominee Narendranath Tiwari was the fact that Trinamul’s Krishnendu Narayan Chowdhury led in 17 of the 18 booths in Kotwali, where the family home of A.B.A. Ghani Khan Chowdhury is located.

“The people of Kotwali rejected the Congress because it took Barkatda’s (Ghani Khan’s) name for cheap electoral gains, but I have stuck to his agenda of Malda’s development,” Krishnendu said after winning the seat by 20,452 votes.

The seat fell vacant after Krishnendu, who won Englishbazar as the Congress nominee in the 2011 Assembly polls, defected to Trinamul.

Krishnendu’s emphatic victory has lent credence to the fact that his personal popularity helped him breach the Congress’s fief in Malda.

“Trinamul’s presence is negligible in Malda town. But people voted for me in large numbers because they have already tested me on the basis of my development agenda for Englishbazar town as its civic chairman,” Krishnendu said.

Congress candidate Tiwari said Krishnendu’s “high-pitched, sustained campaign” for nearly a month steered by Trinamul bigwigs such as Mukul Roy and a host of cabinet ministers helped.

Ghani Khan’s brother Abu Hasem Khan Chowdhury attributed Krishnendu’s victory to “money power”. “Krishnendu distributed money to woo voters,” he alleged.