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Placate bid for Naser

Dec. 19: The Congress is exploring ways to placate an “aggrieved” Abu Naser Khan Choudhury by trying to accommodate him in the organisation at the AICC level, party sources said today.

Yesterday, the MLA of Sujapur, Malda, said he would switch to Trinamul and refused to work under a “junior politician” like Mausam Noor, his niece who has been made the Malda district Congress chief.

Abu Naser is the brother of the late A.B.A. Ghani Khan Choudhury, under whose leadership Malda emerged as a Congress bastion.

If Abu Naser sticks to his plan of defecting to Trinamul, the state’s ruling party would get the opportunity to claim that it has managed to strike at the heart of the Congress bastion in Malda — the Ghani Khan’s clan in Kotwali.

State Congress president Pradip Bhattacharya said today from Delhi that he would do his “best” to ensure that “Lebuda (Abu Naser is known as Lebu to those familiar) does not desert the party at this juncture. I am talking to the high command to explore ways in which he could be accommodated at the AICC level.”

In the past few weeks, the Congress has witnessed defections to Trinamul almost every day.

Shakeel Ahmed, a Congress Working Committee member who was earlier the central minder for Bengal before C.P. Joshi took over the reins in July, said today that he would talk to Joshi to “see if Khan Choudhury can be accommodated in any other capacity in the organisation”. “But Joshiji is the final authority in this matter,” he said.

Congress sources in Delhi said Abu Naser may be made an AICC secretary.

When his reaction was sought on the Congress’s stated effort, Abu Naser said from Malda: “Let’s see if the party does anything for me. No Congress leader either from Delhi or the state has spoken to me. I can tell you that I won’t be in the Congress if I have to work under my niece because this is insulting for a senior person like me in my home district.”

A Trinamul general secretary in Calcutta said today that they are confident Abu Naser would join Trinamul. “It’s a matter of time,” he said.

“We have already wooed Priya Ranjan Das Munshi’s brother to corner his sister-in-law Deepa (Das Munshi) in North Dinajpur, now our target is Lebuda to sideline the Congress in Malda.”