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Mausam Benazir Noor marshalling troops on ground to ensure TMC’s victory in both Malda seats

"I came to Trinamool because I had seen the increase in the BJP’s possibilities"

Meghdeep Bhattacharyya, Soumya De Sarkar Published 04.05.24, 06:48 AM
Trinamul Rajya Sabha MP Mausam Noor campaigns for the party’s Malda Uttar candidate Prasun Banerjee at Chanchal in Malda.

Trinamul Rajya Sabha MP Mausam Noor campaigns for the party’s Malda Uttar candidate Prasun Banerjee at Chanchal in Malda. Soumya De Sarkar

Mausam Benazir Noor, a Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha member who was the Congress’s Malda Uttar MP for a decade from 2009, is Mamata Banerjee’s busiest Malda organiser. Daughter of Rubi Noor (the youngest of Malda icon ABA Ghani Khan Choudhury’s seven siblings), the 44-year-old Kotwali scion is a La Martiniere Calcutta girl with a law degree who practised in the Supreme Court before entering politics at the age of 28.

In her chamber, photos of her with a beaming Sonia Gandhi — purportedly saddened immensely by Mausam’s 2019 decision to switch — meeting her children at 10 Janpath still take pride of place alongside those with Mamata.


Mausam has, for weeks, been marshalling the troops on the ground to ensure Trinamool’s victory in both Malda seats, neither of which Trinamool has won since delimitation

The Telegraph spoke to Mausam ahead of the third phase of polling on May 7. Excerpts:

You had expressed the desire to contest from Malda Uttar?

I did… made it quite clear. I came to Trinamool because I had seen the increase in the BJP’s possibilities. Back then, I had spoken in favour of an alliance between Trinamool and the Congress, to keep the BJP out. The Congress leadership was unwilling. I had spoken to my family, said we should work together, under Mamata Banerjee’s leadership, to stop the BJP. But my relatives did not wish to leave. I had decided on my own, and my main objective was to halt the BJP’s progress.

Anyway, two of us from the family contested in 2019, and our votes got split. Khagen Murmu got 5.09 lakh votes, I got 4.25 lakh, (her first cousin and brother-in-law) Isha (Khan Choudhury) got 3.05 lakh... But thereafter, all the people of Malda Uttar that I have spoken to — having provided a lot of service as their MP for 10 years — they wanted me to contest again. Because Murmu did not do any work there in five years.

The people wanted it, so did I… had Didi (Mamata) given me a ticket. I had informed the leadership. Anyway, the party made a decision. I made my disappointment clear.

But I am a soldier of the party, always working tirelessly for it. We discussed within the party. I am working now.

But has the disappointment subsided?

Definitely. It’s over now… there’s no point sitting around with that.

What is your assessment of the electoral outcome of the Malda seats?

Our results in the 2021 Assembly elections were great, we won eight (of the 12) seats. We are very hopeful, as our organisational work on the ground has also been solid.

What are the challenges?

Mainly the one. Malda and Murshidabad districts generally favour the Congress, especially in general elections. In Malda Uttar, the last time I had contested, I finished second and they came third. But the people now have a certain reliance, dependence on Mamata Banerjee. Hence, we are positive.

What about the failure of the alliance with the Congress, is it not going to dent Trinamool here?

INDIA very much exists, and our supreme leader even named the bloc… she has a major contribution. Why the seat-sharing did not work out is for the leadership to analyse. Definitely, (Congress state unit chief) Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury’s negative role caused problems. It would have been good if it worked out. But without it, we aren’t facing a great many difficulties anywhere.

What is your assessment, statewide?

In 2021, the BJP had tried projecting that 200-plus figure. Again, that same thing
they are trying to do (of 35-plus). But that is not working with the people. I am certain that the results would be good for us.

Will Trinamool get more than 22 and the BJP, less than 18?

Yes. I think so.

How do you think the Congress is going to fare nationally?

In INDIA, the Congress is a very crucial constituent. Their victory, their numbers
will definitely help the alliance. We are very hopeful about the Congress’s national results… INDIA resonated with the people’s hopes and aspirations for the country, and will do well.

This could well be a rerun of 2004. There are tangible fears of the Constitution being altered, parliamentary democracy being diluted… of no more proper elections
after this. The people have realised that. I have a very strong feeling, there’s going to be a turn.

Should that turn take place, do you see Mamata playing a key role in the new Union government?

Oh, absolutely! We want her to play a very vital role in it. She is a very strong, very tall leader. We need her at the Centre… As workers, we want her to be right up there.

As a representative of a minority community, how do you perceive this divisive communal agenda of the saffron camp?

It is very upsetting, especially for us, the people of Bengal. Because we generally are very secular, inclusive… The BJP’s presence, and its growth, comes at the great cost of that being driven into the mindset even here now.

Malda Uttar votes on May 7

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