Dealing a blow to the Congress, its MP from Malda North, Mausam Benazir Noor, joined the Trinamool Congress on Monday. She will contest the upcoming Lok Sabha poll from the same constituency on a Trinamool ticket. Without wasting time, the Congress also announced its candidate from the seat. PCC chief Somen Mitra said Malda’s Sujapur MLA Isha Khan Choudhury, who is Mausam’s cousin, would contest the Malda North Lok Sabha seat as the party candidate now in place of Mausam Noor.
Niece of the late Congress leader ABA Ghani Khan Choudhury, Noor met Trinamool supremo and chief minister Mamata Banerjee at state secretariat Nabanna and formally joined the party on Monday. Noor is one of the members of the Khan Choudhury clan. Ghani Khan Choudhury had been a pillar of the Congress, especially in Malda.
Congress MP from Malda South Abu Hasen Khan Choudhury is Mausam’s uncle, and MLA Isha Khan Choudhury is her cousin.
Mausam Noor is a second-term MP of the Congress, which had won four of the 42 LS seats in the state in the last Lok Sabha elections. This is the first time that a Congress MP defected to the Trinamool after it formed a government in the state in 2011.
“I am inspired by Didi (Mamata). I’ll work under her guidance for the development of the state. We have to fight against the BJP and I am quite confident that the TMC will win all the 42 seats in the state in the coming LS poll,” Noor told the media.
“Trinamul Congress in Malda, a stronghold of Congress, is getting stronger,” she said.
Asked whether her uncle Abu Hasen Khan Choudhury might follow in her footsteps and join the Trinamool, she said : “It will be decided later.” The Trinamool chief said : “Our main aim is to oust the BJP from the Centre.”
Shocked over the development, the Congress accused the Trinamool of trying to finish it off and paving the way for the “communal” BJP in the state.
“TMC’s claim that it wants to fight the BJP and strengthen secular forces in Bengal and India is bogus and this poaching of our MP is the biggest example of it. TMC is trying to finish the Congress,” PCC chief Somen Mitra said.
“If someone wants to leave the Congress and join some other party how can we stop him or her ? When I met our party president Rahul Gandhi last year I told him to talk to Mausam as she might switch over to the TMC,” he said.
“We knew Mausam was in touch with the TMC leadership, but after the Congress’ victory in the three Hindi-heartland states, she said that she would be with the Congress and there is no question of joining the TMC,” said another senior state Congress leader.
In November 2018, Mausam Noor had made a strong pitch for an electoral alliance with the Trinamool Congress to check the influence of BJP in the state. “The BJP is practising communal politics in different parts of the country and to hold it back an alliance with Trinamool is necessary,” Noor had said. This was not the first time she had voiced her support for an alliance with Trinamool.
PCC chief Somen Mitra had not heeded to her advice. Not ruling out the possibility of an electoral understanding with Trinamool, the PCC chief had said neither him nor Noor would take the final call on this issue.