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Congress rebels to contest polls

Congress dissidents, who are poised to contest as independent candidates in the assembly elections, are as obdurate as ever. They are not even unnerved by Union finance minister Pranab Mukherjee's caveat of strong disciplinary actions, including the threat of expulsion for six years.

kolkata Updated: Apr 06, 2011 13:01 IST
Ravik Bhattacharya

Congress dissidents, who are poised to contest as independent candidates in the assembly elections, are as obdurate as ever. They are not even unnerved by Union finance minister Pranab Mukherjee's caveat of strong disciplinary actions, including the threat of expulsion for six years. The result – triangular fights are inevitable in many constituencies where Congress dissenters would be contesting as independent candidates.

On Sunday, during the release of Congress election manifesto, Mukherjee stated that 'a six-year expulsion' is looming large over insurgent Congressmen.

"I have served Congress for years. The people of my constituency, Garden Reach, are aware of my contribution. The people want me to contest. Whatever happens I am not changing my decision," said Abdul Khalek Mollah, sitting MLA from Garden Reach, who was denied a ticket by the party, after Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee staked her claim on it. After delimitation the seat changed to Garden Reach-Metiabruz.

"I do not regret my decision. Let them do what they want," said Muhammed Fazle Haq who is expected to contest from Dinhata constituency.

"Mukherjee and Manas Bhuniya can say what they want. Local Congressmen have asked me to contest and I will continue with my campaign," said Kanailal Agarwal, independent candidate from Islampur.

"I have resigned from the post of the president of Islampur town Congress before filing my nomination. But still I am a member of the party. Let them issue a show-cause notice to me," added Agarwal, who is pitted against Karim Choudhury of Trinamool.

Since Congress got only 65 out of 294 seats following the alliance, many leaders and standing Congress MLAs were denied tickets.

The mood is no better in districts like Nadia, Murshidabad, Malda, and Cooch Behar. "What I am doing is just to save my party. I cannot campaign for Trinamool," said Raigunj MP Deepa Das Munshi. She has been seen campaigning for independent candidates.

However, some have started to change their minds. On Monday, party dissident Prabesh Mondol from Manikchowk withdrew his candidature.