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Rival tiptoes into Adhir hub

Adhir Chowdhury in Behrampore on Monday. Picture by Chayan Majumdar

Calcutta, Nov. 25: The Trinamul Congress’s vote share in the Behrampore municipality has jumped to 27.86 per cent this time from 2.8 per cent five years ago, a boost for the state’s ruling party in a Congress stronghold where it had not been able to make inroads.

Trinamul opened its account in the Behrampore municipality today, winning two of the 28 seats. The party came second to the Congress in the remaining 26 seats, though the margin was wide.

As against 2,128 votes in 2008, Trinamul this year bagged 25,157 votes, the Murshidabad district magistrate said.

With today’s win, the Congress retained the Behrampore civic body for three consecutive terms since 1998. The beleaguered Left drew a blank, as in 2008.

Although Murshidabad Congress strongman Adhir Chowdhury did not undermine Trinamul’s victory in the two seats, the junior railway minister pointed out that both winners were once Congress leaders who defected to Trinamul in 2009.

According to sources, Trinamul’s win had worried Congress leaders, especially when the party had started preparations for the Lok Sabha polls next year.

Trinamul’s win in Behrampore, however small, is a morale booster for the party, which has taken control of eight Congress-run civic bodies in the past three months riding on defections but was yet to sink its teeth in the Murshidabad municipality until today.

As Trinamul all-India general secretary Mukul Roy put today’s win: “Take it from me, today’s victory in the two wards in Behrampore will help us emerge as an alternative force in Murshidabad in the coming days. We will perform phenomenally well in the Lok Sabha polls in Murshidabad.”

District Congress chief Chowdhury acknowledged the Trinamul victory in the two wards. “We must accept that the Trinamul win in the two wards here are in line with its overwhelming victory in four other civic bodies,” he said.

The Behrampore MP, however, maintained that the two persons who won on Trinamul tickets today had defected from the Congress in 2009.

“The two persons won the polls on their personal charisma. Trinamul cannot claim credit for their victory,” Chowdhury added.

Contacted, Kanai Ray and Asim Kumar Nandy, the Trinamul winners from wards 3 and 5, respectively, said they had defected to Trinamul in 2009 to protest Chowdhury’s “authoritarian rule” but added that a win would not have been possible without help from senior Trinamul leaders.

A Trinamul vice-president in Calcutta said chief minister Mamata Banerjee had “expressed happiness” when she was apprised of the results in Behrampore.

CPM six resign

Six CPM councillors of Left-run Halisahar municipality in North 24-Parganas resigned on Monday citing health grounds. Although none of the six were available for comment, the district CPM said their move was prompted by alleged Trinamul attacks. Trinamul denied the charge