iconimg Sunday, August 30, 2015

Snigdhendu Bhattacharya, Hindustan Times
Lucknow, July 30, 2013
Manuja Bibi’s win is a defeat of chief minister Mamata Banerjee. The widow of Trinamool Congress worker Sheikh Nasiruddin set up a direct fight with local Trinamool MLA Asima Patra, who allegedly had a role in her husband’s death inside the lock-up of Dhaniakhali police station.

Despite Mamata’s support to Patra, Manuja Bibi, who contested on a Congress ticket, has defeated the Trinamool Congress candidate at Jairambati seat of Somaspur gram panchayat.

“I’m thankful to the people who stood by me in such a tough fight to get justice for my husband’s killing,” Manuja Bibi told HT.

The state government opposed her demand for a CBI probe into the death of her husband.

Ultimately the Supreme Court ordered a CBI probe.

Mamata in her public statement stood by Patra and said she would not tolerate anyone trying to destabilise her MLA.

On the day of polling, Trinamool leaders threatened voters trying to cast their votes.

Manuja Bibi was one of the few in Dhaniakhali block who dared to contest.

Trinamool won 80% of the seats uncontested.

Another big jolt for the ruling party is the victory of Alam Mohammad Safiqul, who contested on a CPI(M) ticket from a zilla parishad seat in Nanoor.

It was the only seat in the block in which the CPI(M) managed to field a candidate.

Safiqul had to flee Nanoor immediately after filing nomination.

He could not campaign and had no polling agent in 30 of the 63 polling booths.

Yet, he has won by 1905 votes.

“My victory proves CPI(M)’s popularity in Nanoor.

They have closed down all our party offices and not a single party flag could be found here. All our campaign was through telephonic conversations with local supporters,” he told HT.

“We would have won all three zilla parishad seats in the block as well as a number of gram panchayat and panchayat samiti seats where we allowed to contest and campaign,” Safiqul added.

The victory of Manwara Bibi from Madhudanga seat of Madanpur gram panchayat in Jamuria block of Burdwan district is also a signal to the ruling party.

The CPI(M) candidate’s husband, Sheikh Hasmat, died after Trinamool backed goons allegedly hurled bombs at him early in the morning on July 15, the day of polling.

Hasmat was attacked close to the polling booth at Madhudanga primary school.

The locals had caught one of the goons and lynched him.

Trinamool Congress, however, managed to win the ‘prestige fight’ at Kasba gram panchayat in Birbhum district where rebel party worker Hriday Ghosh stood against the official candidate.