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Speaker in triangular contest

Hasim Abdul Halim is fighting the tag of having 'fled' from his former constituency for fear of defeat.

india Updated: Apr 24, 2006 22:42 IST

Hasim Abdul Halim, West Bengal assembly Speaker for long and internationally renowned for his legislative skills, is fighting the tag of having 'fled' from his former constituency for fear of defeat.

Muzaffar Khan is a seasoned politician and a businessman, who has dabbled for years in minority politics. But his opponents are tearing him apart for being a 'party hopper'.

The other Khalid Ibadullah is a youth leader, whose only claim to fame is a second place finish in the by-poll to the seat held in 2004.

The fight for the minority-dominated Entally seat in the central Kolkata is for all practical purposes triangular, with CPI-M's Hasim Abdul Halim, Muzaffar Khan of Trinamool Congress and Congress's Khalid Ibadullah each launching a campaign blitz to reach the over 1.30 lakh electorate ahead of the April 27 polls.

From Congress President Sonia Gandhi to Marxist bigwigs Jyoti Basu and Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, several political luminaries have zeroed in to canvass for their candidates in the constituency has oscillated between the ruling Left Front and the opposition since 1987.

Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee is scheduled to visit Entally on Tuesday.

Halim, who has been occupying the hot seat of Speaker for a record 24 years since 1982, brushes aside talk of being new to the constituency.

"I may not have contested from here earlier. But since 1957 I have been involved in the various elections in this area," said the veteran, who has won six back-to-back elections from Amdanga in neighbouring North 24 Parganas till 2001.