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Ghatak faces hill Cong ire

Darjeeling, March 28: Sujay Ghatak, the Congress candidate for the Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat, had to face the ire of party leaders in the hills for not turning up at the party office in Darjeeling on the day he filed his nomination.

Ghatak apologised for his oversight and later, he said all differences in the party had been sorted out.

He had filed his nomination before the district magistrate here on March 24. The Congress candidate was accorded a rousing reception on that day by Trinamul supporters who mistook his rally for that of Bhaichung Bhutia.

However, Ghatak was at the receiving end today when he stepped into the Congress (hill) office here. Ghatak immediately went into a huddle with leaders like Nakul Chandra Chhetri, Lawrence P.T. Lama, Chabbi Rai, Hem Rai and K.B. Chhetri.

Waiting journalists could hear the hill leaders tearing apart Ghatak for breaking what they called a Congress tradition. “It has been a tradition of the Congress that candidates first come to the Darjeeling office and the supporters accompany them to file the nominations. Why did you fail to come to the party office? If this is the attitude, then no Congress worker from the hills will vote for you,” a leader was heard shouting at Ghatak.

Ghatak admitted that the hill Congress leaders had shouted at him during the meeting. “I admit that my senior leaders shouted at me today and I also understand their anger. The problem arose because of some miscommunication and I apologised for not coming to the Congress office on that day I filed the nomination. But I am happy that there are no more differences in the party after the meeting. We are part of a big family and at times, such issues do crop up and they get solved also.”

The Congress candidate said he would sit with the hill leaders and finalise the date for a public meeting in Darjeeling. “We are trying to get senior Congress leaders and even Rahul Gandhi to address our meeting in Darjeeling. We want to work towards removing the mental divide between the hills and the plains,” said Ghatak.