The Telegraph
Monday , April 7 , 2014
CIMA Gallary

When in poll fix, look to CM

April 6: The Burdwan Trinamul is banking on Mamata Banerjee’s rally tomorrow to salvage the situation in the district where a sizeable section of party workers has stayed away from campaigning over the choice of candidates with Left background.

Trinamul has fielded Sunil Mandal, an MLA who was expelled from the Forward Bloc after he voted for Trinamul in the Rajya Sabha polls, in the Burdwan East Lok Sabha seat.

For Burdwan-Durgapur, the party has chosen Mumtaz Sanghamita Chowdhury, whose father Syed Abul Mansur Habibullah was the law minister in the Jyoti Basu government.

The choices have caused resentment among many Trinamul workers who have refused to write poll graffiti and go for door-to-door campaigns.

A Trinamul leader in Burdwan today said that Mamata’s speech at the rally at Jamalpur tomorrow could motivate a “section of our unwilling workers and leaders” to join the campaign.

According to minister Swapan Debnath, who had at a rally yesterday made an appeal to Trinamul workers and leaders to participate in the campaign, the “situation will turn around after tomorrow’s rally”.

“Wait till tomorrow. The situation will definitely turn around after tomorrow’s rally. Those who are still unwilling will participate actively in the campaign after they hear Mamatadi,” Debnath said.

The disgruntled section of Trinamul workers has also described candidates Chowdhury and Mandal as “outsiders”.

While Chowdhury is a resident of Park Circus in Calcutta, Mandal lives in Galsi that falls under the Burdwan-Durgapur Lok Sabha seat.

A Trinamul leader admitted that the party was already feeling the heat because of the lack of proper campaigning.

“As a sizeable section of leaders and workers is not present during our campaign rallies, there is not much response from voters,” he said.

Burdwan was a Left bastion till three years ago. Of the 25 Assembly seats, Trinamul now controls 15, and of the seven civic bodies, it is at the helm in four.

Sources said the Burdwan Trinamul was banking on the chief minister all the more as she managed to quell the discontent over nominations by holding three back-to-back meetings in Kulti, Salanpur and Raniganj on Friday to seek votes for the party nominee from Asansol, Dola Sen.

Trinamul leaders expressing resentment over the candidature of Mandal said it would have been better had the party chosen a local person for the Burdwan East seat.

“How can a person with a Left past be chosen as the party nominee for the Burdwan East seat?” asked Shakti Ranjan Mondal, a Trinamul councillor in Burdwan.

Peeved with Mandal’s candidature, Shakti Ranjan had even filed his nomination for the North West Delhi seat. But he withdrew it later after the leadership asked him to do so, sources said.

Resentment among Trinamul activists was also high about Chowdhury. “We don’t understand why somebody from outside Burdwan has been chosen as our candidate for the Burdwan-Durgapur seat?” asked Sheikh Nurul Amin, a former student leader from Galsi.

Contacted, Chowdhury said: “If a small section of party workers doesn’t campaign for me, I can’t force them. I am getting support from the party’s youth leaders.”

Mandal said those “who matter in Trinamul” were with him.

Burdwan East and Burdwan-Durgapur seats vote on April 30