Place: Trinamool Congress office opposite party MLA Ashok Mondal's home at Godhulibazar
Scene: Around 20 Trinamool workers are surfing news channels. They look demoralised and are reluctant to take part in election campaign for party ally National Congress Party (NCP) candidate Amiya Sarkar.
Party chief Mamata Banerjee may have made it clear that she would go all out to back the NCP at Dinhata, local Trinamool workers are unhappy that Mondal, who won the seat in the 2006 assembly elections, has been replaced.
"Amader didi nijei jeta seat Udayan Guhake walkover diye dilo. MLA Ashok Mondal-ke ki karone sorano halo amra janlamna (Our Didi herself has given a walkover to Udayan Guha. We do not know why the sitting MLA has been removed)," said one of the workers.
Guha, son of former agriculture minister Kamal Guha who won from here seven times in a row since 1977, is relaxed about recapturing Dinhata. "I am confident of recapturing the constituency this time. My constituency has given a lead of about 18,000 votes even in the Lok Sabha elections," Guha said.
Mondal had defeated Guha by a narrow margin of about 1,300 votes in the last assembly elections. "Mondal was one of the only two Trinamool MLAs in entire north Bengal. We have contacted our party general secretary Mukul Roy and sent around 80 text messages to party leaders seeking to know the reasons behind giving the Dinhata seat to an unknown party (NCP) replacing Ashokda, who could have retained the seat a second time," said Trinamool worker Swadesh Saha.
"Some FB workers are still carrying sad memories of the Dinhata police firing on the agitators during a law and order violation programme led by Udayan Guha about two years ago. Five FB men were killed and eight sustained injuries. We are demanding that the Seal Commission report on the firing be made public. Udayan Guha and his party will be in trouble if the report is brought to the public on the eve of elections. But under the pressure of FB leadership, the state government is sitting on the report," Saha said.
He said Amiya Sarkar is an outsider to Dinhata voters. Nobody knows his party symbol. Locals in Dinhata feel that fielding Dr Md Fazle Haque, sitting Congress MLA of Sitai constituency close to Dinhata, as an Independent would make the turf tougher for Udayan.
Haque, a physician by profession, was the minister of state for home during Siddhartha Shankar Ray's regime. "This time it will be tougher for the FB candidate to recapture Dinhata even after the replacement of Trinamool candidate Ashok Mondal by an NCP contestant. I hope anti-Left people will give me votes," he said.