Adhir launches rebel campaign

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By OUR BUREAU in Calcutta
  • Published 8.04.06

Behrampore/Calcutta, April 8: A defiant Adhir Chowdhury today launched a campaign for Independent nominees he has put up against three Congress candidates in Murshidabad.

“The Independent nominees, who will have the symbol of axe, will contest against those with the hand symbol in Kandi, Behrampore and Hariharpara,” the Congress MP from Murshidabad told a meeting of party workers in Behrampore town, about 200 km from Calcutta.

The AICC has renominated Atish Sinha, Mayarani Pal and Niamat Sheikh for the Kandi, Behrampore and Hariharpara seats, respectively, on the basis of recommendations from senior state leaders.

But Chowdhury is opposed to all three as none of them joined the protests across Bengal over his arrest last year in a double-murder case and his imprisonment thereafter.

As a mark of protest, he has put up Apurba Sarkar for Kandi, Manoj Chakraborty for Behrampore and Mir Alamgir for Hariharpara.

Of the 19 seats in Murshidabad, the Congress has eight. While four of the MLAs owe allegiance to Sinha, who is the Congress leader in the Assembly, the rest are loyal to Chowdhury.

“I shall campaign for all Congress candidates barring these three. Genuine Congress workers cannot support the three, who have destroyed the organisation in the district by teaming up with the CPM,” Chowdhury said.

He also called upon Congress workers to oppose the party’s nominees for the three seats. “I am not bothered about what state leaders say about filing nominations against official candidates. I cannot compromise with those who have links with the CPM,” he added.

Chowdhury later told reporters that he would shortly visit Delhi to explain to Congress president Sonia Gandhi the reason behind opposing the official nominees.

Going by his comments, it is apparent that Chowdhury is training guns on Pranab Mukherjee, for whom he had worked hard in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections to help him win the Jangipur seat.

Pranab Mukherjee, as the state Congress president, had played a key role in renominating the three sitting party legislators.

Congress sources said Chowdhury is being backed by information and broadcasting minister Priya Ranjan Das Munshi and former mayor Subrata Mukherjee who had spearheaded the agitation when Chowdhury was put behind bars. Das Munshi and Subrata Mukherjee had alleged that Chowdhury was “framed” by the CPM to tarnish the Congress’s image.

Pranab Mukherjee said the party leadership did not approve of Chowdhury’s decision to put up Independent nominees. “I shall shortly meet Adhir to resolve the matter.”