Rivals garland Ghani statues before filing papers - Trinamul and Congress bypoll candidates pay homage to late leader

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  • Published 5.02.13

Malda, Feb. 4: Six years after his death, the late A.B.A. Ghani Khan Choudhury still manages to draw people from both sides of the political divide in his home town.

Today, both the Congress and Trinamul candidates for the Englishbazar byelection put flowers at the feet of the late Congress minister before filing their nomination papers.

Of course, they chose to pay their floral obeisance at two different statues of the leader in Malda town. The rivals sought the blessings of Ghani Khan Choudhury before filing their nominations.

While Krishnendu Chowdhury, who resigned as the Congress MLA last year, filed his papers as the Trinamul candidate, Narendranath Tewari submitted his nomination from the Congress.

Around 11am, a Trinamul rally started from Krishnendu’s party office at Kalitala near here. On the way to the collectorate, Krishnendu garlanded Ghani Khan Choudhury’s statue at the Mukta Mancha grounds.

An hour later, a Congress rally was taken out from the district party office in Hyat Bhavan in the heart of the town. Tewari marched with district Congress president and Union minister of state for health Abu Hasem and garlanded Ghani Khan’s statue at Rathbari before reaching the collectorate.

ABA Ghani Khan Choudhury

“Six years after his demise, Ghani Khan still has an impact on Malda politics. Krishnendu entered politics with the blessings of the late leader and won from Englishbazar in 2006 and (today) he paid homage to express his gratitude. It is only natural for the Congress candidate to garland the statue. Interestingly, both the candidates prayed at the Peeranapeer dargah yesterday. Ghani Khan used to pray at the dargah and seek blessing at the Monshkamona Kali temple before filing his nominations,” said an observer.

District Trinamul president and minister of state for women and child development and social welfare Sabitri Mitra said: “Our candidate will be elected by the voters of Englishbazar for the sake of development. We are the ones who are always with the people.”

Krishnendu, who also won from the seat on a Congress ticket in 2011, said: “I will not face any problems although I am contesting on a new symbol. The people have voted for Trinamul and brought Mamata Banerjee to power and they will do the same in Englishbazar.”

Ghani Khan’s brother Abu Hasem, when asked about his threat to withdraw from contesting the bypolls to protest the district magistrate’s alleged partisanship, said: “The Election Commission has assured us that they are investigating our charges against district magistrate Archana. We had told the commission that there would be no free and fair elections under this particular district magistrate.”