Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury is playing on a turning wicket this time, feel Congress and Trinamool leaders in Murshidabad.
His habit of supporting and encouraging Independent candidates against his own party or alliance candidates for the last 10 years in different elections and defeating them would not click this time, they felt.
"We have taken a lesson from the 2009 parliamentary election in Murshidabad. This time too, these Independent candidates will not be a factor as voters as well as grassroots-level workers of both Congress and Trinamool have understood the motive of the Independent candidates," said Sagir Hossain, Trinamool candidate from Bhagabangola.
Sheikh Idris Ali, who is also contesting against both CPI(M) and Chowdhury-supported Independent candidate, feels that the Congress leader's motive is clear to everybody now. Every time, he strengthened the hands of the CPI(M) whenever a strong candidate contested against them.
In these five constituencies, the polarisation is clear. "Adhir Chowdhury's photograph was burnt by agitated Congress supporters at Kandi a few days ago. The same incident was repeated at Bharatpur. Even he has to hear the 'go back' slogan in that area. People who want change in Bengal will not help these independents to help CPI(M)," Hossain said.
Niyamat Sheikh, once Chowdhury's close associate and now candidate from Hariharpara on a Trinamool ticket, is also confident that his mentor's Independent candidates would not succeed.
"People are not fools. They know that these independent candidates will ultimately help the CPI(M)," said Sheikh.
Chowdhury, however, said whatever he had done was for the sake of his party. "I had supported Independent candidates against Atish Chandra Sinha and Mayarani Pal and they won. That means I was correct. This time also my independent candidates will win," said Chowdhury.
According to him, Trinamool bagged Karimpur, Hariharpara, Bhagabangola, and Jalangi, which fall under Murshidabad parliamentary constituency where Congress has an MP. "If they win in these four seats then they will demand for the Murshidabad parliament seat from us. Our existence will be at stake," said Chowdhury.
Going against the decision of the party high command to form an alliance with Trinamool, Chowdhury has fielded four Independent candidates against Trinamool candidates in Murshidabad. For this, he has been labelled Mir Jafar by Trinamool leaders.