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Cong sounds final alarm for defiant Independents

india Updated: Apr 16, 2011 15:31 IST
Snigdhendu Bhattacharya
Snigdhendu Bhattacharya
Hindustan Times
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The Congress high command gave yet another bold indication on Friday, three days before the six north Bengal districts go for polls, that they are in no mood to tolerate the rebel party leaders, who are contesting as Independents.

“We are requesting all Independent candidates that there is still time to withdraw from the contest, and let the alliance take on the Left. It’s time for making history and we request you not to try to spoil this golden opportunity,” said Union finance minister Pranab Mukherjee at a poll campaign rally in Jalpaiguri.

Mukherjee was speaking at a rally flanked by Sonia Gandhi and PCC chief Manas Bhuniya.

Gandhi, during her speech at Jalpaiguri on Friday, hailed the alliance with Trinamool and termed the coalition partner as one which “played significant role in developing the UPA’s pro-poor policies.”

Mukherjee’s 4-minute speech, just before Gandhi started, seemed to be intended at giving one more warning to the rebel state leaders, who are planning to contest as Independents, especially to the four Nadia district leaders: Anil Barui, Amal Mazumdar, Rajib Sheikh and Sarifuddin Munshi.

These four leaders, backed by Nadia Congress strongman Shankar Singh, have filed nominations as Independents from Nakashipara, Krishnanagar South, Karimpur and Kaligunj, respectively. The district goes for polls on April 23.

“It should also be noted that Rahul Gandhi on Thursday campaigned at Domkal in favour of Soumik Hosen, party candidate from Youth Congress quota, who’s candidature was opposed by Murshidabad district president Adhir Choudhury,” said a top PCC leader.

On condition of anonymity, he added, “It means that Choudhury, who is openly campaigning for the rebels, is not being supported by the high command.” Friday’s warning came two days after Bhuniya’s announcement of suspending 12 Congressmen for six years.