Taking the protests by Trinamool Congress as a challenge: Adhir

Murshidabad and Malda are the two districts where the electoral understanding between the Congress and Left parties is likely to pose a challenge to both the Trinamool and the BJP

April 20, 2024 09:52 pm | Updated April 21, 2024 01:39 am IST - Kolkata

Congress leader and candidate Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury. File

Congress leader and candidate Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury. File | Photo Credit: PTI

Facing repeated protests and ‘go back’ slogans over the past few days allegedly from Trinamool Congress supporters, senior Congress leader and the party’s Baharampur Lok Sabha candidate Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on Saturday said that he accepted these protests as a challenge and would ensure that Trinamool drew a blank in Murshidabad district in the Lok Sabha polls.

The vehicle of five five-term Congress MP was surrounded by a mob in the Nowda area of Murshidabad, where a large group of protesters raised ‘go back’ slogans.

This was not the first time Mr. Chowdhury had faced protests while campaigning in his constituency. When encountering a similar protest a few days ago, he was caught on camera pushing a Trinamool supporter away.

“The Trinamool Congress is trying to stall my election meetings. But they will never succeed. I will not be cowed down by the threats of TMC workers,” he said.

Mr. Chowdhury said that he accepted these protests orchestrated by Trinamool Congress as a challenge. “I take this as a challenge, Didi, and will ensure that Trinamool Congress draws a blank in the district,” he said.

The ruling Trinamool Congress has fielded former cricketer Yusuf Pathan against Mr. Chowdhury. Reacting to the Congress MP’s statements, the Trinamool leadership said that he had lost his mind and the support of the people. “Adhir Chowdhury is cornered and has lost his mind,” party spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said.

The Trinamool leadership had named the Congress leader as one of the reasons the two parties could not forge an electoral alliance in West Bengal.

Tough fight ahead

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Trinamool won two of the three seats in Murshidabad district — Khalilur Rahaman from Jangipur and Abhu Taher Khan from Murshidabad — and Congress secured the third.

This time, Congress has fielded two candidates — Mr. Chowdhury from Baharampur and Md. Murtoja Hossain from Jangipur — and its ally CPI(M) has fielded Md. Salim from the Murshidabad seat.

Murshidabad and Malda are the two districts where the electoral understanding between the Congress and Left parties is likely to pose a challenge to both the Trinamool and the BJP. There are five seats in the two districts (three in Murshidabad and two in Malda) and the electorate comprises a significant minority population. Four seats across the two districts will go to polls on May 7 while Baharampur will vote on May 13.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has been emphasising that there is no INDIA bloc in the State. “I was the one who gave the INDIA alliance its name. There is no INDIA alliance in West Bengal, the CPI(M) and Congress are working for the interest of the BJP,” Ms. Banerjee has been repeating at almost every public meeting.

Addressing a public meeting in Malda district on Saturday, she rued that her candidates have never won Lok Sabha polls from Malda.

In 2019, BJP’s Khagen Murmu secured Malda Uttar and Congress’s Abhu Hashem Chowdhury won from Malda Dakshin. While Mr. Murmu is seeking re-election from Malda Uttar, Mr. Hashem Chowdhury’s son Isha Khan Chowdhury is contesting from Malda Dakshin on a Congress ticket. Trinamool has fielded Shanawaz Ali Rehan from Malda Dakshin and former IPS officer Prasun Banerjee from Malda Uttar.

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