The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Rumours rife on North seat

Malda, March 15: Speculation on who will be the Congress candidate in Malda North has started doing the rounds with the party high command refraining from announcing any name for the newly created constituency.

Such were the rumours that the Congress district committee was forced to call a news conference to say that it had recommended only Abu Naser Khan Chowdhury for the North seat.

The absence of sitting MP Abu Hashem Khan Chowdhury from the district had only added to the conjecture and speculation. Abu Hashem, who is also the district president of the party, has been camping in Delhi for the past one month. Darjeeling and Murshidabad are the other seats where the Congress is yet to announce its candidates.

The CPM, which has already started campaigning for Sailen Sarkar in Malda North, is equally anxious about the Congress nominee. The Left party has fielded Abdur Rezzak in Malda South where Abu Hashem (see list) is the Congress candidate.

Several Congress leaders had sent their bio-datas to Delhi on their own for Malda North.

However, the AICC had sent two representatives to Malda to look for the right candidate for the new constituency. The district leadership had then recommended Abu Naser, the brother of Abu Hashem and the late A.B.A. Ghani Khan Chowdhury.

Among those who have been lobbying for the Malda North nomination are MLAs Sabitri Mitra from Araidanga and Krishnendu Chowdhury from Englishbazar. A close aide of ailing Union minister Priya Ranjan Das Munshi, Suresh Behani, is also in the race.

Abu Naser: Candidature finalised?

The general secretary of the Pradesh Congress Committee, Pradip Bhattacharya, has also expressed his desire to contest from Malda North. But this has created strong resentment among the rank and file. “Is there any dearth of suitable candidate in our district? Why should an outsider eye this seat? After all, the Kotwali family will have the final say on the nomination,” Mitra said.

She was referring to the Khan Chowdhurys who stay in Kotwali.

The claims and counter claims prompted the district Congress committee to announce this afternoon in a news conference that only Abu Naser’s name had been proposed. Three general secretaries — Hasan Ali Shaah, Mostaq Alam and Ramprabesh Mondal — were present at the meeting. “We had sent only his name to Delhi,” said Shaah.

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