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New Cong chiefs in bastions

Mausam Noor, the new Congress chief for Malda, and Abu Hena, who will oversee the organisation in Murshidabad

Calcutta, Dec. 16: The Congress today replaced party presidents in strongholds Malda and Murshidabad in keeping with its “one-person-one-post policy”, the move coming months before the Lok Sabha polls and when the organisation is reeling from a series of defections to Trinamul.

MP Mausam Noor has been named the Malda district president. She would replace her uncle and Union minister of state for health and family welfare Abu Hasem Khan Chowdhury.

In Murshidabad, five-time MLA Abu Hena was made the Congress’s district chief, replacing junior railway minister Adhir Chowdhury.

The Congress today also replaced party presidents in 18 of its 28 organisational districts.

Asked about the move in Malda and Murshidabad, state Congress chief Pradip Bhattacharya said from Delhi that he had been told by the party high command to relieve Adhir and Abu Hasem of organisational responsibilities.

“For the past three months, I have been receiving such requests. This is in keeping with the party’s one-person-one-post policy,” he said.

According to Bhattacharya, the move was also intended to “rebuild” the organisation at the grassroots before the Lok Sabha polls, due in May.

The state Congress chief said at a time the party has been witnessing defections by Congress workers and leaders to Trinamul, the change at the helm in the 18 organisational districts “might help us stop this trend”.

“They (the new presidents) could be more acceptable to disgruntled party workers,” he added.

Asked about her new role, Mausam said: “Since I have been assigned the job of overseeing the organisation in Malda, I will do my best.”

Lalgola MLA Hena, the son of former minister Abdus Sattar, sounded confident. “I will steer the organisation in my home district with advice from Adhir Chowdhury,” said Hena, known to be close to Adhir.

Santosh Pathak, who was replaced as Burrabazar district president by lesser known Ghanashyam Mishra, said he was unhappy.

“I am not happy with the way I was replaced,” said Pathak who, sources said, brought in supporters from neighbouring areas for Congress rallies in Calcutta.

Bhattacharya said Pathak would be inducted as a “key member” into the Congress’s executive committee.

The Congress high command today also bifurcated the organisation in four districts — Jalpaiguri, the two Parganas and West Midnapore — for better co-ordination.