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Once with enemy, always with enemy

Burdwan, March 28: A section of Trinamul leaders and workers in Burdwan has refused to campaign and write graffiti for a party candidate who switched over from the Forward Bloc and another whose father had been associated with the Left Front.

While Sunil Mandal, an MLA who was expelled from the Bloc after he voted for Trinamul in the Rajya Sabha polls, is contesting the Burdwan East Lok Sabha seat, Mumtaz Sanghamita Chowdhury, whose father Syed Abul Mansur Habibullah was law minister in the Joyti Basu government, is the Trinamul candidate for the Burdwan-Durgapur constituency.

The two Trinamul candidates’ nomination has triggered resentment among a section of local party leaders and workers. Party workers who specialise in writing graffiti have refused to do so for Sunil Mandal and Chowdhury.

The Trinamul leadership in Burdwan has hired local artists who make signboards to write graffiti for Rs 500 a day. In some areas, CPM workers alleged that Trinamul leaders were forcing them to write graffiti for the duo. Trinamul leaders said they had not resorted to coercive tactics but were paying the CPM workers Rs 350 a day to write graffiti.

A Trinamul worker in Kalna said the state leadership had “forgotten” how the Burdwan unit “struggled to defeat” the CPM in its former bastion in the Assembly elections.

“We cannot understand why Sunil Mandal, who ditched his party, was given a ticket by Trinamul,” he said.

Chowdhury’s nomination incensed a Trinamul councillor so much that he went all the way to Delhi to file nomination as an Independent from the Northwest seat in the capital.

“The party has fielded an elderly lady (68-year-old Chowdhury) who belongs to a Left family. She lives in Calcutta and has no link with the politics in Burdwan-Durgapur,” Saktiranjan Mandal said.

However, he withdrew his nomination from Delhi yesterday after a minister intervened.

Sunil Mandal said he had got a “warm welcome” from party workers.

Chowdhury said: “I got interested in politics seeing my father.... I think Trinamul is the right choice for me. I am getting a good response.”