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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Krishnendu Choudhury Emerges as Fresh Centre of Power in Post - Ghani Malda Politics

Malda, February 28: Malda used to be regarded as the 'Citadel of Ghani Khan Choudhury' for long. In his lifetime he remained unbeaten from the then Malda parliamentary constituency since 1980. He held crucial positions like Union Railway minister, Power minister, Coal minister as an Malda MP and reaped the harvest of the projects taken during his ministerial tenures till he died in  

Interestingly, the issue of succession of late Ghani first came to the fore since Trinamul Congress started emerging as the alternative of the Left Front. Soon after it was visualized by several Ghani-confidante Congress leaders that the Trinamul supremo Mamata Banerjee could materialise Ghani's long cherished dream of casting the Left Front into the Bay of Bengal, they in large numbers started joining the Trinamul one after another and were duly rewarded with prize-portfolios by the TMC supremo. Those former Congress leaders like state social welfare minister Sabitri Mitra, former Malda Zilla Parishad Sabhadhipati Goutam Chakraborty, former Congress MLA Ramprabesh Mandal, Ghani's trusted election agent  Masidur Rahaman and many others were pretty disgusted with the brothers of late Ghani khan who allegedly cornered them in the Congress proclaiming themselves as the legal successors of the Ghani legacy.

Departure of such a long train of the Congress leaders disillusioned with the Ghani's brothers and relatives paved the way for rebellion in the Congress against the dynastic approach of Kotowali in post-Ghani era and finally nodding to the call of the Trinamul leadership the redoubtable Congress leader, English Bazaar MLA twice and chairman of English Bazaar Municipality Krishnendu Choudhury, empowered by the invisible encouragement of Mamata Banerjee, proclaimed open war with the Ghani's brother and Union minister of state for health AH Khan Choudhury (Dalu).

Choudhury, the then English Bazaar Congress MLA, eventually quit the Congress as well as resigned as MLA on 19 December, 2012 and was sworn in as the minister-in-charge of the crucial tourism department. Hence, the by-poll in English Bazaar was an imperative. Severely irked by Krishnendu's quitting the Congress blaming it on solely the their political aspirations, the Khan Choudhury's went all out to pluck out the Krishnendu-thorn to sustain their unquestionable political authority in the district. They got on the scenario of English Bazaar by-election terming Krishnendu as a 'greedy back-stabber.'

This is when for the first time the brothers and other relatives of late Ghani Khan realised that the The voters of English Bazaar have cast aside the ‘treachery’ issue raised by the Congress against the tourism minister Krishnendu Choudhury when he contested as Trinamul Congress c. andidate leaving the Congress in English Bazaar by-poll. On the contrary it seems that the voters have preferred to agree Choudhury raised the rebellious voice against the ‘dynastic politics of the Kotowali family of Khan Choudhurys’ and the Congress.

The by-poll in English Bazaar would certainly be a blow for the Union minister of state (MoS) AH Khan Choudhury (Dalu) and his family who relentlessly strove to retain English Bazaar to prove that Khan Choudhurys would be the determining factor in Malda politics. On the contrary, it was a challenge for Choudhury to emerge as the alternative centre of power in post Ghani Khan Choudhury politics in Malda in which he has virtually succeeded as believed by the political observers.

After his emphatic victory in English Bazaar by-poll in which the Congress was pushed down to the third position, Choudhury said, “This victory is a missile of the people of English Bazaar to the white house of Kotowali (Khan Choudhury residence).” It was understood from his body language that he was quite satisfied after his decision of revolting against Dalu overwhelmingly supported by English Bazaar elector.

In his reaction Choudhury said, “It was for the people to choose between development and underdevelopment. People have of course chosen the first alternative.” He also said that the chief minister Mamata Banerjee has emerged as the emissary of development in long-deprived Bengal and today’s victory was her victory. He alleged that his margin could have been increased if Dalu had not played ‘communal cards’ against him.

CPI-M has only little explanation today after their candidate Koushik Mishra, even in a triangular fight, was defeated by almost the same margin as the last time. CPI-M tried to project Mishra, a young face, to win the heart of the people. But the result shows that people have not only summarily rejected him, but the percentage of the CPI-M’s votes have been reduced from 39 to 28 this time which is regarded as the imminent threat for the party in panchayet poll also as presumed by the senior party leaders.

Mishra, however, said, “We accept the verdict with all humility and would analyse the reason of defeat.” He also ruled out the possibility of sabotage from within the party.

District CPI-M secretary Ambar Mitra, however, hinted that they were defeated against ‘money power’ of the Trinamul candidate. “It’s nothing new that there was game of huge money in the election and the Trinamul candidate exploited all administrative avenues to win the by-poll,” Mitra said.

Narendra Nath Tiwary, the Congress candidate who ended being third only in this battle of prestige, virtually conceded that people had rejected their isues. “We went to the people with our issues. But it seems that people liked to reject ours and accept the Trinamul’s issues,” Tiwary said while leaving the counting venue with only one supporter.

Dalu, who was in Delhi today, however, strongly attacked Krishnendu as usual. “He is a goon. He resorted to all sorts of vices including money and muscle. In addition he exploited the district administrations also,” Dalu said. He also claimed that this defeat would not affect the supremacy of the Congress in its tested bastion Malda.

It is anticipated that the Khan Chowdhurys would be more vigorous this time like an injured tiger and the rivalry between the Congress and the Trinamul may turn violent in near future.

Significantly, BJP’s vote has also been reduced and their candidate Sanjit Mishra conceded that they had been virtually cast away in the election.

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