He was once a friend. But now he is a headache for Trinamool Congress. The party now fears that if Chhatradhar Mahato contests the assembly election from Jhargram constituency, the anti-Left vote will be divided and that will only help the CPI(M).
Suvendu Adhikary, MP and Trinamool leader, who led the rally from Netai to Lalgarh, on Thursday, said, “Anyone can contest. He may be a member of the People’s Committee against Police Atrocities but he too can contest the election but we do not want the anti-Left votes to be divided.”
On the other hand, the CPI(M) is happy with Mahato’s decision. “We are sure we will win the seat and if Mahato really fights the election, that will help us have an easy win,” said a CPI(M) leader in West Midnapore.
On Thursday, Trinamool supporters started their election campaign from Netai under the leadership of Adhikary. Trinamool candidate Sukumar Hansda also took party in the rally that went from Netai to Lalgarh.
Mahato, a PCAPA leader, now an undertrial and in Midnapore Central Correctional Home, has submitted a petition in Jhargram court. The court granted him the wish to contest polls. Mahato, a resident of Amalia village in Lalgarh, was arrested in October 2009. He has several cases against him, including UAPA (Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act), but can contest the election if he follows jail rules and other regulations framed by the Election Commission, the court said.
Mahato, who had worked for Trinamool in the three-tier panchayat election in 2005, later led the movement in Lalgarh that began in November 2008. In February 2009, Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee also shared the stage with Mahato.
“The people of the area suffered a lot in the last two years. Beside continuous killings there were bandhs and strikes. Everyone in the area knows they suffered for whom. Chatradhar is a Maoist and is involved in many murders. The persons who has hindered development, now speaks about development,” said a CPI(M) district leader.
However, many people think Mahato may not contest the polls.