Trinamul plans boycott if Deepa strays MP's choice: campaign for all or not at all

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  • Published 6.04.11

Islampur, April 5: The North Dinajpur Trinamul Congress today said that if Deepa Das Munshi campaigned for her party’s candidates in the district, she would have to follow suit by canvassing for Trinamul nominees as well.

At a core committee meeting of the party at Hemtabad, Trinamul also adopted a resolution that called for the “boycott” of Deepa, if she turned up to campaign only for the Congress, ignoring the alliance. Of the nine Assembly constituencies in North Dinajpur, Trinamul has fielded candidates in four — Itahar, Islampur, Chopra and Hemtabad.

“We have taken a decision that we will not allow Deepa Das Munshi to campaign in Islampur, Chopra, Itahar and Hemtabad, where she has openly fielded Congress candidates against ours. Second, either she campaigns for alliance candidates, whether Congress or Trinamul, or not at all. We have communicated our decision to our party bosses in Calcutta,” said Tilak Chowdhury, a member of the district Trinamul core committee after the meeting.

He said the alliance had suffered a blow as none of the four rebel Congress candidates had withdrawn their nominations.

He added that the PCC would also be approached to make sure that Deepa, the Congress MP from Raiganj who has no love lost for Trinamul chief Mamata Banerjee, did not canvass for the rebels as “that would send a wrong signal to anti-Left voters”.

“We have also adopted a resolution to suspend our party member Rakbul Baksh, who is fighting against our official candidate, Amal Acharya, in Itahar. A copy of the resolution has been sent to the party bosses,” Chowdhury said. Trinamul has alleged that Baksh was instigated by Deepa and her group.

Another Trinamul core committee member has said the party plans to black-flag Deepa if she comes to campaign in the four seats. “We will not tolerate her tactics against Mamata Banerjee. Our workers and supporters will not allow her to enter these constituencies. We have also asked our workers to snatch away Congress banners from her and her followers if she is seen campaigning for rebel Congress candidates,” the leader said.

Trinamul leaders pointed out that even though the PCC and Pranab Mukherjee had said rebel candidates would be suspended for six years for working against the alliance, local Congress leadership had been doing little to stem such efforts. “People like Deepa are working towards creating a winning chance for the Left candidates by fielding rebels,” a Trinamul leader said.

He said in the 2006 Assembly elections, Deepa had fielded Sharif Ahmed in Islampur, paving the way for the CPM’s Mohammad Faruque who beat Trinamul candidate Chowdhury Abdul Karim, a seven-time MLA. Karim is contesting from the same seat this time and Deepa has fielded local civic chief Kanhaialal Agarwal against him.

Rebel Congress candidate from Chopra and former PCC member Hamidul Rehman, dared the high command to drive him out of the party. “I have the full support of the Congress workers and supporters. I am still with the Congress and I dare the high command to suspend me,” Rehman said. He will be fighting official candidate, Sheikh Jallaluddin.

Sources said Rehman was harbouring a grudge against Trinamul as he had lost Chopra in 2006 when Mamata had fielded Tabibur Rehman from the seat. There was no alliance that year and the CPM’s Anwarul Haque won the seat.

Agarwal, the chairman of the Islampur municipality and PCC member, claimed that all Congress workers were with him. “All the Congress workers are with me and there is no problem in putting up my banners as a Congress-supported Independent candidate,” Agarwal said.

Although Deepa kept disconnecting her cellphone when The Telegraph called her up repeatedly, Congress district secretary Pabitra Chanda scoffed at the Trinamul decision. “Who are they to decide whether Deepa Das Munshi will campaign or not? It is her personal decision where to campaign or where not to campaign. The Trinamul decision is laughable,” Chanda said.

District Congress president and Raiganj candidate Mohit Sengupta said the rebels had “resigned” from the party.

“In the given situation we have nothing to do. I would like to point out the role of the Trinamul Congress that has allowed the SUCI, for whom they have left some seats in south Bengal, to pit candidates against us in constituencies where we have our candidates,” Sengupta said.