The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Ballot debut in sibling rivalry

Jalpaiguri, April 30: For Haradhan Sarkar and Krishnakanta Sarkar, the Trinamul Congress and CPM candidates for the Paharpur gram panchayat, it’s not quite a “brotherly” contest.

The brothers will fight each other for booth 17/152 of Sadar block in Jalpaiguri on May 11. While Haradhan is a veteran — he was a Congress gram panchayat member for 15 years before switching allegiance to Mamata Banerjee in 1995 — his sibling is a new entrant to politics.

The brothers are campaigning vigorously but are making sure that their supporters do not launch a personal attack. “I am not resorting to any personal attack. As a Trinamul candidate, my campaign is focusing on the development work that I have undertaken in the district,” said Haradhan.

Krishnakanta, on the other hand, is stressing on issues like backwardness and non-development of the area. “During the Congress era, nothing was done to ensure drinking water facilities, electrification and transportation in the area. But I know that the candidate against whom I am contesting is my brother and am, therefore, cautious about what I say,” he said.

Their house at Milpara is a picture of political bonhomie as it has been converted into a joint party office of the CPM and Trinamul. Both the “sickle-hammer-star” and the “tri-coloured-grass-flower” are fluttering side by side.

For the 820 voters, however, it’s a difficult choice. Balen Roy has known the brothers for a long time. “Both are known to us. While Haradhan had contested earlier and had won the seat as a Congress candidate, it is the first election for Krishnakanta. We are in a fix about whom to vote for,” he said.

Palash Roy, a neighbour, said he would like both to win. “How can I vote for just one of them' I have known them since they were children. It’s a difficult choice,” he said.

Haradhan has contested several elections. “Till the 1993 polls, I was a member of the gram panchayat for 15 years as a Congress candidate. Then in the byelection in 1995, I won the seat on a Trinamul ticket.”

For Krishnakanta, it is the first ballot battle. “This is the first time that I am contesting in the panchayat level. But I feel that if the people want development in the village, they will vote for me,” he said.

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