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Mishra hits election trail

Balurghat, March 20: Omprokash Mishra today started campaigning as the Congress candidate for Balurghat Lok Sabha seat, although the party was yet to announce its nominee for the seat.

Today, Mishra offered puja at the Burikalibari temple here and campaigned around town with his followers. In the afternoon, he attended meetings with the party workers and leaders from Balurghat town and Hili block.

“I am confident my candidature will be announced. It is just a matter of formality. There is not much time left before the elections. The party workers were eager to start the campaign and they wrote to me about it. I could not ignore their appeal,” Mishra said here today. “I don’t want to waste time and I started the campaign. I am getting a huge response from the common people. Most of the Congress leaders and activists are with me.”

Congress insiders said the district leadership had sent Mishra’s name to the party high command as the Balurghat candidate.

“Two other names had also emerged. One is of Nilanjan Roy, South Dinajpur district Congress president, and the other is of Sayesta Abedin, son of former minister Jaynal Abedin. We were sure that Omprokashda’s name would be announced as he had started campaigning much earlier than the other parties. He has already travelled across the district,” said a Congress leader here. “If the AICC decides to name anyone other than Mishrada, it would be a huge set back. We are sure that the high command will select Mishra.”

Last week, Mishra had written to the AICC urging the high command to consider his name as the Balurghat candidate. He had also said he would not contest from anywhere else. “I want to contest from Balurghat and will not shift to any other seat,” he had said.

Mishra had also said that his name had been announced by former state Congress president Pradip Bhattacharya and AICC observer Shakeel Ahmed Khan for the seat earlier. Mishra said it was an “embarrassment” that his nomination hadn’t been announced yet by the central leadership.

If Mishra is nominated, it will be the first time that he would contest in Balurghat.

On Sunday, Congress leaders held a meeting here and sent a message to the high command seeking Mishra’s nomination from the seat.

The leaders also wrote to Mishra asking him to start the campaign.

Balurghat Lok Sabha seat has been with the RSP for over 30 years and Prashanta Majumdar is the sitting MP. This time, the party has fielded Bimal Sarkar. Trinamul has fielded Arpita Ghosh and the BJP has nominated Biswapriya Roy Chowdhury for the seat.

BJP chief quits

The Sikkim president of the BJP, Padam Chettri, said he had resigned from the party and joined the Congress. He will contest from Rhenock constituency in East Sikkim as a Congress candidate. The president of the Sikkim Pradesh Congress Committee, A.D. Subba, said he would be the candidate for the lone Lok Sabha seat.