Cong keeps Malda seat

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  • Published 16.04.08

Malda, April 16: The Congress has retained the Kharba Assembly seat in Malda by defeating the CPM by 10,393 votes in the byelection.

The BJP and Trinamul Congress candidates have forfeited their deposits.

The bypoll, necessitated by Congress MLA Mahababul Haque’s death, was held on April 12. The Congress has been winning the seat since 1996.

Congress candidate and Haque’s son Asif Mehboob had been leading from the first round of counting that was held today. He bagged 67,067 votes while the CPM’s Anjumanara Bibi got 56,674. The BJP and Trinamul candidates managed 6,985 and 4,547 votes, respectively.

“This is the first victory for the Congress (in Bengal) since Priyada (state Congress chief Priya Ranjan Das Munshi) has taken over. It is a befitting reply to those who thought the Congress had lost relevance in Bengal and will strengthen our resolve for a better show in the panchayat polls,’’ said party spokesperson Subrata Mukherjee.

Asit Bose, a close aide of Das Munshi in Malda, said: “Earlier, we had to depend on the clout of Barkatda (the late A.B.A. Ghani Khan Chowdhury) to win an election in Malda. Now, we have a suitable alternative in Priyada.”

CPM district secretary Jiban Moitra saw “nothing unusual” in the Congress’s victory. The CPM has never won the seat, he said.