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Cong sees protest as swelling of support

Many activists from Kidderpore, Garden Reach and Metiabruz raised slogans accusing a leader of bias in candidates’ selection from these areas. Things came to such a pass that one of the aspirants threatened himself on fire outside Bidhan Bhavan. His name figured in a subsequent list of candidates.

Tirthankar Mitra | Kolkata |

Activists staging noisy demonstration at party headquarters after being denied nomination in civic polls is being considered to be a pointer to an increase in support base by a section of state Congress leadership.

While such venting of indignation by the rank and file would have been considered to be acts of indiscipline and dealt as such on other political outfits, some of the PCC leaders perish such thought. Over the years, demonstrations at Bidhan Bhavan, the state Congress headquarters are part and parcel of a scene after the names of candidates are announced. But these agitations are being considered to be a spurt in the popularity of the party which has failed to win even a single seat in the last state Assembly elections. The footfall of the rank and file at Bidhan Bhavan have been reduced to less than a trickle, a senior leader said.

In the backdrop of the party’s worst ever poll performance, these agitations are pointers to our regaining the lost support base, he felt. Be that as it may, the state leadership has buckled into the pressure of the irate demonstrators. Bringing out the fourth list of candidates for the 19 December Kolkata Municipal Corporation elections bears this out.

Even as they put up a brave face, a candidates list brought out at midnight is a pointer to the state Congress leadership’s unwillingness to face an irate crowd. Many activists from Kidderpore, Garden Reach and Metiabruz raised slogans accusing a leader of bias in candidates’ selection from these areas. Things came to such a pass that one of the aspirants threatened himself on fire outside Bidhan Bhavan. His name figured in a subsequent list of candidates.

Post demonstration, candidates have been changed in several wards with Prabir Pal replacing Debaprasad Mukherjee in Ward No. 73 while in Ward No. 70 Debsuvra Majumdar replaced Dilip Roy. Gunj Mallik has been nominated from Ward No. 78 and Akib Gulzar from Ward No. 79. Even as a section of PCC leadership is patting itself on its back, Prasanta Dutta has resigned from the election committee raising charges of corruption in selection of candidates. He has also voiced his apprehension in a letter to PCC chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury.