One crossed from the Congress to contest as a Trinamool Congress candidate, another broke the family tradition to take on the official Congress candidate as an Independent.
Former three-time Congress MLA from Araidanga and Ghani Khan Chowdhury loyalist, Sabitri Mitra, is contesting on a Trinamool ticket from Manikchak. With her usual seat lost to delimitation, Mitra was offered Malatipur but she refused to contest from there. When the Congress insisted, Mitra quit and joined the Trinamool.
Mamata Banerjee fielded Mitra from Manikchak and made her the Trinamool district president. The Trinamool is contesting three out of the 12 assembly segments in Malda and Manikchak is a positive seat.
But the most dramatic electoral development in Malda has been Shahnaz Quadri’s decision to contest as an Independent candidate from Mothabari against the official Congress and Youth Congress nominee Sabina Yasmin, who is the zilla parishad sabhadhipati. It is for Yasmin that AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi and north Malda parliamentary MP Mausam Benazir Noor campaigned recently.
Quadri is the niece of Sujapur MLA AH Khan Chowdhury. She represents Kotwali, the house of Ghani Khan Chowdhury and the Congress in Bengal and India. Her decision is a shocker for the family and the party.
In Ghani Khan Chowdhury time, Quadri used to help Barkatda in his constituency. After his death five years ago, she expressed her interest in contesting from the Mothabari area or the adjoining assembly segment of Sujapur. But when the Congress refused to give her a ticket, she decided to contest as an Independent.
What further upset her was when Congress gave the ticket to her cousin Isha Khan Chowdhury, son of AH Khan Chowdhury, to contest from Vaishnab Nagar. Quadri is a political greenhorn pitted against Sabina Yasmin and her benefactor MP and state Youth Congress president Mausam Benazir Noor.