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Bengal polls 2021: Defeated TMC trio vow to work for party

Deb lost by 27, 593 votes to Shikha Chatterjee; Ghosh lost by 23,440 votes to Mihir Goswami; Barman lost to Sukumar Roy by 14,615 votes in North seats
Gautam Deb
Gautam Deb

Avijit Sinha, Main Uddin Chisti   |   Siliguri, Cooch Behar   |   Published 04.05.21, 01:03 AM

Three members of Mamata Banerjee’s second cabinet who tasted defeat in north Bengal this time have decided to focus on the party's affairs and are awaiting instructions from their party chief about their role in the days ahead.

Veteran Trinamul leaders who were also state ministers — Gautam Deb (tourism), Rabindranath Ghosh (north Bengal development) and Binoy Krishna Barman (backward classes welfare) — lost to BJP candidates this time, including two Trinamul turncoats.

While Deb lost by 27, 593 votes to Shikha Chatterjee, who had walked out of Trinamul in 2018, in Dabgram-Fulbari, Jalpaiguri. Ghosh lost by 23,440 votes to Mihir Goswami, who left Mamata’s camp last year, in Natabari seat of Cooch Behar.

Barman, on the other hand, lost to Sukumar Roy, a BJP old-timer, by 14,615 votes in the Cooch Behar North seat.

“People have not voted for us this time. We have tried our best but there had to be some lapses. Our party will surely try to find out what led to such results because in terms of development, what the Mamata Banerjee government has done for Cooch Behar or for north Bengal as whole, cannot be matched by any other government,” said Ghosh, considered the most prominent Trinamul leader in Cooch Behar.

Party insider said the change of reins in the party in Cooch Behar — Partha Pratim Roy replacing Ghosh as the district president — was a reason. “He (Roy) could never properly fulfil his responsibilities. Instead, infighting in Trinamul became more acute,” said a party leader.

The Trinamul insider said even Bangshibadan Barman, the leader of Greater Cooch Behar Peoples’ Association, had lamented on Sunday that the feud between Roy and Ghosh led to this debacle of Trinamul winning only two of nine seats in Cooch Behar.

Deb, considered the tallest Trinamul leader in north Bengal, said he would focus on the party.

“The BJP has won a number of seats in and around Darjeeling district. We need to rebuild our base, and find out as to why, despite so much development work, we failed to draw support,” Deb said.

Deb’s defeat has also come as a jolt for stakeholders of the tourism industry because during his two tenures, as NB development minister and tourism minister, he was instrumental in augmenting infrastructure for tourism, the sector that generates even more employment than tea these days.

“We’d always get his help. We don’t know who will get tourism and NB development portfolios, and if they will at all be north Bengal leaders,” said a tour operator in Siliguri.

Another major loss for Trinamul was Krishnendu Narayan Choudhury, who lost to Sreerupa Mitra Choudhury of the BJP in Malda’s Englishbazar seat by 20,099 votes.

“Sabitri Mitra (another senior Trinamul leader), could make a comeback this time after her defeat in 2016. He (Choudhury) however, couldn’t, unlike his bête noire Nihar Ranjan Ghosh who won from Chanchal in Malda this time,” said an observer.

Additional reporting by Soumya De Sarkar in Malda

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