Political circles in Malda district were rife with speculations once again after the state government “lifted” one of the security personnel assigned to former state minister and district chairman of the Trinamul Congress (TMC), Krishnendu Narayan Choudhury, last evening.

As Choudhury alleged that he was not given prior information of the action, he also refused to retain the two other security personnel with him.

Police on the other hand claimed that Choudhury’s security was “reduced” from three to two personnel and not totally “lifted.” They also said that the security guard was withdrawn as the police now needs personnel for the elections.

The matter gained importance in political circles as the move follows an incident where Choudhury was accused of launching an attack on the residence of TMC MLA Nihar Ranjan Ghosh in English Bazaar a few days ago. As Ghosh’s house was attacked on 15 February, the chairman of the board of administrators at the English Bazaar Municipality and his wife, Gayatri Ghosh, who is a ward coordinator of the EBM, alleged that both Choudhury and the district TMC youth wing president, Prasenjit Das, were present at a distance during the incident.

Observers were quick to say that the development could be a fallout of the long-drawn factional fight between the two prominent leaders of the ruling party in the district.

“Security withdrawal of TMC leaders has always been a subject of debate in the state,” a political observer here said. It may be noted here that Choudhury has been given security cover since 1985, and as he commanded more authority in the political arena, the number of the guards assigned for his security also increased.

“Last evening, I was going to Ward-3 for a political event when one of the security men informed me that he had been withdrawn from duty and he left. This morning, I refused to take security altogether. There had been many attempts to kill me in the past and if something similar happens in the future, I will take it as destiny,” Choudhury said.

The BJP on the other hand termed the matter as a result of the factional feud in the TMC. “These things are part of the factional conflict within the TMC, which is evident from some similar incidents that are happening in the state. Moreover, it does not have any direct impact on people’s lives,” the district vice-president of the party, Ajoy Ganguli, said.

The district convener of the TMC, Dulal Sarkar, meanwhile, said, “Perhaps the security has been reduced and it is an entirely administrative matter.” Malda SP Alok Rajoria said, “There is a requirement of a huge number of security personnel for the elections, and in this case, it has been reduced and not lifted.”