The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Crossover to Cong, finally

Malda, March 26: After a month of dilly-dallying, district Trinamul Congress president and former chairman of Englishbazar Municipality Krishnendu Chowdhury today formally joined the Congress.

'I have decided to come back to the Congress. Now, I shall go the way my mentor and veteran Congress leader A.B.A. Ghani Khan Chowdhury asks me to,' Chowdhury said. The Trinamul had nominated Chowdhury from the Englishbazar constituency for the coming Assembly elections. Last time, he had been defeated by the CPM.

Ghani Khan admitted that Chowdhury has joined the Congress. 'We have taken back Krishnendu. He had expressed his desire to join our party in writing. The district Congress considered his case.'

But the development has sparked fresh dissension within the party, though no one is going public about it.

District Congress president Rubi Noor and sabhadhipati of the zilla parishad Gautam Chakraborty refused to comment on Chowdhury's inclusion. 'The matter has been handled by Barkatda himself,' said a Congress leader.

Chowdhury today shared the dais with Ghani Khan at the workers' convention of the West Bengal State Electricity Board (WBSEB) union. In his address, Chowdhury compared Ghani Khan with the Himalayas. 'He is as great as the mountains. He has a large heart,' Chowdhury said.

The Trinamul-turned Congress leader regretted that many people, who had got jobs in the WBSEB when Barkatda was the power minister, have changed allegiance and joined the Citu since then.

Ghani Khan, however, did not utter a word about Chowdhury in his address. 'I brought electricity to many villages. But more areas should have been electrified in the past 30 years,' Ghani Khan said.

In the meantime, summoned by Mamata Banerjee, district Trinamul leader Babla Sarkar has rushed to Calcutta. Trinamul general secretary Mukul Roy said over phone from Calcutta that though the party was aware that Chowdhury has joined the Congress, he has not yet been expelled from the Trinamul.

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