Adhir beats Cong at home

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By OUR CORRESPONDENT
  • Published 11.05.06
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I told you so: Adhir Chowdhury

Behrampore, May 11: The Bengal Congress today learnt the hard way that it cannot af-ford to cold shoulder Adhir Chowdhury on his home turf.

The two Independents fielded by the local MP and Murshidabad Congress president trounced the party’s official candidates, Atish Sinha and Mayarani Pal, both sitting MLAs.

Sinha lost in Kandi and Pal in Behrampore.

Sinha, who had not lost Kandi since 1991, was crestfallen in defeat. More so because around noon he and his associates had started celebrations as word spread that he had won by about 3,000 votes. Supporters flocked to the Kandi Rajbari, from where their leader’s zamindar ancestors used to control their fief.

Around 12.30 pm, Sinha, the leader of the Congress legislature party, learnt about his defeat. It wasn’t a rumour this time. Sinha refused to speak.

In 2001, he had won by nearly 27,000 votes and Pal by a margin of about 30,000.

Although senior Congress leaders like former state chief Somen Mitra had campaigned for Sinha and Pal this time, both ended up third. Pal forfeited her deposit.

Manoj Chakraborty won Behrampore by 25,726 votes. His nearest rival was the RSP’s Amal Karmakar. In Kandi, Independent candidate Apurba Sarkar’s nearest rival was the CPI’s Abdul Hamid.

State Congress president Pranab Mukherjee, who resigned today, admitted that infighting had taken its toll in Murshidabad.

State Congress working president Pradip Bhattacharya admitted that the leadership should have been able to rein in Chowdhury when he put up the Independent candidates against party nominees.

Chowdhury said he fielded candidates of his choice ag- ainst Sinha and Pal because “they had damaged the organisation in Murshidabad in connivance with a section of state Congress leaders”.

Asked if his action amounted to anti-party activity, the MP said: “I helped the Congress by fielding candidates against Atish Sinha and Mayarani Pal, who were stooges of the ruling front.”