After district Congress president Mausam Noor joined the ruling Trinamool Congress Monday, the North Malda parliamentary constituency is likely to see a political clash between two cousins — Ms Noor herself and Isha Khan Choudhury ~ in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
State president of the Congress, Soumen Mitra, has already proposed the name of Mr Khan Choudhury, who told the media on Tuesday that he was ready for the fight if the party so decided. He also alleged that chief minister Mamata Banerjee tried to break their family earlier too, but was not able to wipe out the Congress.
Talking to the media, Isha Khan, the MLA from Sujapur who is the son of South Malda MP Abu Hasem Khan Choudhury, said, “Mausam not only humiliated Congress activists and supporters but also humiliated her uncle, the Late ABA Ghani Khan Choudhury, with whose name she used to win elections in the district.”
The political rift reflected in the family, as a new wall between two sections of Kotwali Bhavan, the residence of the Khan Choudhurys, can be spotted now.
“Perhaps Mausam Noor had decided to switch to the TMC much earlier and had built the wall,” said Mr Khan Choudhury.
On the other hand, after reaching Malda around 2 pm by Kanchenjungha Express on Tuesday, Ms Noor was given a warm welcome by the TMC district leadership and activists. She was greeted at the station and was taken to the TMC party office in an open vehicle with a rally of almost a thousand people at Vivekanandapally under the English Bazaar police station in the presence of Moajjem Hosain, the district president of the TMC, Dulal Sarkar, the working president, and many other leaders.
“Development and Mamata Banerjee are the same and I invite my uncle Abu Hasem Khan Choudhury and others to join Trinamul Congress to carry on development. The Trinamul is the lone option for the process of development,” Ms Noor said there.
Dulal Sarkar, meanwhile, said, “TMC in Malda has gained more power with the inclusion of Mausam Noor in the party and we are looking forward to having a great result in the upcoming parliamentary elections.”
Meanwhile, AICC observer for the state Gourav Gogoi said on Tuesday Trinamul Congress chief Mamata Banerjee was out to finish Congress in the state just as BJP national president Amit Shah predicted at his Malda rally recently.
Strongly opposing an alliance with Trinamul in the forthcoming parliamentary
elctions, Gogoi said though it was up to the party’s national leadership to take the final call on the issue of alliance with Trinamul in the state, the fact remained that the ruling party was pursuing a policy of maintaining cordial relations with national leaders of the Congress and engineering defections from the party’s ranks in the state.
PCC chief Some Mitra called Noor a “betrayer” and lashed out at her at a press conference in Kolkata. “Switching sides will not ensure her victory,” said the PCC chief, who named Mausam’s cousin Isha Khan Chowdhury as the Congress nominee against her right after she resigned.
Noor’s defection would facilitate the inroads BJP has been trying to make in the state in general and Malda in particular, he said. “It is a pity that a member of the family of legendary Congress leader, late ABA Ghani Khan Chowdhury
has indirectly strengthened the BJP’s hand,” said Mitra.
He said the Trinamool Congress leadership was following a double-faced policy. “Miss Banerjee speaks of strengthening Opposition unity and leaves no stone unturned to sabotage it. It is unfortunate that Noor decided to switch sides before the elections after winning as a Congress nominee in 2014,” the PCC chief said, adding: “But she should not garb her personal decision by attributing it to a desire to combat BJP in the state when her act strengthened its hand.”