Sujapur witnesses Kotwali family fight

Sitting MLA Abu Naser to contest as Trinamul candidate, Congress fields nephew

By Our Correspondent
  • Published 17.03.16
Abu Naser Khan Choudhury

Malda, March 16: The Kotwali family of A.B.A. Ghani Khan Choudhury is set to witness a straight electoral fight with Abu Naser Khan Choudhury of Trinamul being pitted against his nephew Isha Khan Choudhury in Sujapur seat that goes to polls on April 17.

Isha is the son of South Malda Congress MP, Abu Hasem Khan Choudhury, and the sitting MLA of Baisnabnagar. The Malda Congress has decided to field Isha in Sujapur, known to be a party stronghold, as there was a plan to give the Baisnabnagar seat to Somen Mitra. However, Mitra is not contesting from Baisnabnagar and the Congress has fielded local party leader Azizul Haq there.

The uncle-nephew contest has triggered off widespread interest among political circles. "Sujapur is not just a Congress stronghold. The late A.B.A. Ghani Khan Choudhury made his debut in politics by winning from Sujapur in 1957. Since then, the seat has never gone out of Kotwali and the Congress. Ghani Khan's sister, the late Ruby Noor, held Sujapur from 1991 till her death in 2008. After that, her daughter, Mausam Noor and later, Abu Naser were the MLAs from the seat. Abu Naser won from Sujapur in 2011 and later switched to Trinamul. Since Abu Naser and Isha are taking on each other, all want to know what the May 19 results will reveal," said an observer.

Congress insiders, too, are eager to find out what the results will be in the intra-Kotwali battle. "Abu Naser had first contested from Sujapur in a by-election in 2009. The by-poll was necessitated by Mausam's resignation after she had won from the North Malda Lok Sabha seat. Abu Naser won by over 17,000 votes. In the 2011 Assembly elections, he defeated CPM heavyweight Biswanath Ghosh by over 4,000 votes. The voters in Sujapur have traditionally cast their ballots in favour of the Congress. So, it should be easy for Isha to defeat his uncle," a Congress insider said.

 Isha Khan Choudhury

Abu Naser, however, does not look at his nephew as a formidable contestant. "I have been working for the development of my constituency and the people are with me. For long, the Malda Congress has been surviving by invoking the name of my late brother. The two present Congress MPs (Abu Hasem and Mausam) have done nothing for the development of the district. I am confident that the people of Sujapur will ensure my victory. Kotwali remains by name only. Its residents hardly speak to each other," Abu Naser said.

Isha, who has been touring his constituency with his father and Mausam, said his uncle's claims were not true. "I have been speaking to the voters and they are sick and tired of their MLA. I have been hearing strong criticism of my uncle. He has done little for them and they are with the Congress," Isha said.

Abu Naser's brother said he strongly believed that the people would reject the Trinamul candidate. "The people of Malda have always remained with the Congress and will continue to do so. Isha is an able candidate and will win," Abu Hasem said.

Mausam, who is the Malda district president of the Congress, said Trinamul was attempting to break the charisma of Kotwali. "Mamata Banerjee is out to weaken the Kotwali family. If she (Mamata) thinks that winning my uncle over will provide an advantage for Trinamul, she is making a big mistake. We still live under one roof, although my uncle has stopped communicating with us after he switched to the Trinamul camp last year. The people of Malda will give a proper answer at the proper time," Mausam said.