Family feud spells trouble for West Bengal Congress

March 31st, 2009 - 11:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Malda (West Bengal), March 31 (IANS) It’s all in the family for the Congress in this West Bengal district. And that’s also the cause of all trouble for the party here.
With the Congress high command nominating Mausam Benazir Noor for the newly created Malda North seat, her maternal uncle and ticket aspirant Abu Naser Khan Chowdhury is crying foul.

District Congress president Abu Hashem Khan Chowdhury, the other maternal uncle of Mausam, has sided with his brother.

Hashem, who is the Congress candidate from Malda (South) constituency, has said that the Congress workers were rooting for Naser.

But Congress general secretary in charge of Bengal K. Keshava Rao has made it clear that the Congress high command’s decision to field 29-year-old Mausam was final.

Hashem, Naser and Masuam all belong to the Congress family of the Khan Chowdhuris - made famous by late Congress leader Abu Barkat Ataul Ghani Khan Chowdhury, who never lost an election from Malda.

The district was considered a fief of Ghani Khan, who was widely respected for the development work done here during his several stints in the union cabinet.

Even after his death, Congress politics in Malda has revolved around Ghani Khan dynasty. Mausam became the Congress legislator from Sujapur this year succeeding her mother Ruby Noor.

Ruby Noor, who was also the Malda district Congress president, died last year.

Aghast at the denial of the ticket to him, Hashem said he has been “stabbed from behind” and is lobbying in Delhi for a change of candidate.

On Monday, a group of Hashem loyalists demonstrated before the Khan Chowdhuris’ palatial residence, shouting slogans in Naser’s favour.

Mausam later said the protestors were handpicked by the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M). “It’s a conspiracy hatched by that party, which is nervous after seeing the extent of support that I am getting from the people.”

Initially, following strong recommendations from Hashem, Naser was considered the first choice for the Congress from Malda North till a problem cropped up over his Indian citizenship.

Naser, who spent long years in Switzerland, said the problem has now been sorted out. “There is no question mark over my citizenship.”

The constituency will vote April 30.

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