The electoral success of Congress candidate at the recent Sagardighi Assembly bypoll results in Murshidabad district has rejuvenated the party in its erstwhile bastion Malda ahead of the panchayat polls.
On Thursday, five former Congress MLAs from Malda met Nitin Singhania, district magistrate, seeking an active role of the central forces in the panchayat elections scheduled to be held this summer.
District Congress president and Malda South MP Abu Hasem Khan Choudhury a.k.a Dalu also filed a case with Calcutta High Court on March 6 seeking the deployment of the central paramilitary forces during the panchayat election in Malda.
The party has also decided to hold week-long programmes to raise the same demand.
Apart from the deployment of central forces during the rural polls, the Congress wants a bigger role of the forces during that election.
“We also want the central paramilitary forces to be deputed to all the booths. The strongrooms should be under their vigil and the representatives of all political parties should be allowed to stay around the strongrooms. Unlike the last rural poll, the counting venues should be located centrally and kept under the surveillance of CCTV cameras,” said Isha Khan Choudhury, a former Congress MLA.
Isha was accompanied by other former Congress MLAs, Arjun Halder, Mostaque Alam, Al Biruni Zulkarnine and Mottakin Alam, along with the district working president of the party Kalisadhan Roy, when they served their memorandum to the Malda DM.
Isha alleged that the “partisan administration and police” led to their defeat in the 2018 rural polls in Bengal.
Following the 2018 loss, the Congress fared poorly in all later elections in the state, including the 2022 municipal elections.
However, Congress candidate Bairon Biswas, who was supported by the Left Front, earlier this month sprang a surprise by defeating Trinamul Congress candidate Debasish Banerjee in Sagardighi.
His bypoll win has not only ensured a Congress representative in the Bengal Assembly, it also seems to have raised the morale of the party in Malda.
Political observers believe Sagardighi provided the Malda Congress with “oxygen”.
“Sagardighi is proof that we are relevant, especially in Malda and Murshidabad. We have vowed to fight Trinamul on all fronts. Dalu Babu moved court and we alerted the administration today (Thursday). If panchayat polls in Bengal are held freely and fairly, Congress fortunes will turn in Malda,” Roy, a senior party leader, said.