Bengal Congress on the back foot with Noor’s exit

first_imgThe departure of Congress MP Mausam Benazir Noor, elected from Malda-North in central Bengal, has set off ripples in the party.Malda has remained a Congress bastion since 1980. But after Ms. Noor’s exit many Congress workers and leaders are sceptical if the party will be able to keep the rest of the flock – three MPs, and two dozen MLAs in West Bengal – together till the Lok Sabha polls given that about one and a half dozen of its legislators have already joined the Trinamool Congress since the 2016 Assembly polls.Ms. Noor, the niece of legendary Congress leader late A.B.A Ghani Khan Choudhury, joined the TMC on January 28 and said that she “trusted Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in her fight against communalism”.Her exit has dented the confidence of State Congress workers. “National leaders of the Congress and several possible coalition partners shared the stage with Mamata Banerjee about a week ago. We never thought she would poach from the Congress after that January 19 meeting, but she did. It indicates how ruthless she is,” said a Congress MLA.Legislators of two Assembly segments under the Malda-North Lok Sabha constituency joined the TMC over the last few months. One of them, Samar Mukherjee, was with the Congress, while the other, Dipali Biswas, was a CPI(M) leader. “This development shook the confidence of Mausam Noor,” said the MLA. Ms. Noor was the Malda district president of the Congress.The BJP factor Another factor responsible for Ms. Noor’s decision to join the TMC is the BJP’s growth in parts of her constituency. The BJP won six of Malda district’s 38 zila parishad seats in the three-tier panchayat polls last year, despite large-scale violence in the region. While the TMC’s seats in the zila parishad went up from six in 2013 to 30 in 2018, the BJP’s jumped from none to six. The Left Front and the Congress’ dropped from 31 to two. Ms. Noor read the writing on the wall and left the party that was never defeated in Malda [delimitation bifurcated the seat into Malda-North and Malda-South Lok Sabha constituencies] since 1980. “Huge turnout in [BJP president] Amit Shah’s rally in her constituency earlier this month also disturbed her,” the MLA, known to be close to Ms. Noor, said.Bengal Congress president Somendra Nath Mitra said that Ms. Noor’s exit will not affect the Congress’ poll prospects in any way, indicating that Ghani Khan Choudhury’s nephew, Isha Khan Choudhury, will be its Malda-North candidate in the Lok Sabha elections. If so, then the seat will witness a fight between two cousins – Mausam Benazir Noor from the TMC and Isha Khan Choudhury from the Congress.The BJP’s vote percentage may improve if the family fight splits the minority vote in the constituency. Malda district has over 51% Muslim vote, as per the 2011 census. Trends indicate that in some blocks of Malda, the BJP has managed to woo sections of the tribal people who earlier always voted for the Left.last_img

first_imgThe departure of Congress MP Mausam Benazir Noor, elected from Malda-North in central Bengal, has set off ripples in the party.Malda has remained a Congress bastion since 1980. But after Ms. Noor’s exit many Congress workers and leaders are sceptical if the party will be able to keep the rest of the flock – three MPs, and two dozen MLAs in West Bengal – together till the Lok Sabha polls given that about one and a half dozen of its legislators have already joined the Trinamool Congress since the 2016 Assembly polls.Ms. Noor, the niece of legendary Congress leader late A.B.A Ghani Khan Choudhury, joined the TMC on January 28 and said that she “trusted Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in her fight against communalism”.Her exit has dented the confidence of State Congress workers. “National leaders of the Congress and several possible coalition partners shared the stage with Mamata Banerjee about a week ago. We never thought she would poach from the Congress after that January 19 meeting, but she did. It indicates how ruthless she is,” said a Congress MLA.Legislators of two Assembly segments under the Malda-North Lok Sabha constituency joined the TMC over the last few months. One of them, Samar Mukherjee, was with the Congress, while the other, Dipali Biswas, was a CPI(M) leader. “This development shook the confidence of Mausam Noor,” said the MLA. Ms. Noor was the Malda district president of the Congress.The BJP factor Another factor responsible for Ms. Noor’s decision to join the TMC is the BJP’s growth in parts of her constituency. The BJP won six of Malda district’s 38 zila parishad seats in the three-tier panchayat polls last year, despite large-scale violence in the region. While the TMC’s seats in the zila parishad went up from six in 2013 to 30 in 2018, the BJP’s jumped from none to six. The Left Front and the Congress’ dropped from 31 to two. Ms. Noor read the writing on the wall and left the party that was never defeated in Malda [delimitation bifurcated the seat into Malda-North and Malda-South Lok Sabha constituencies] since 1980. “Huge turnout in [BJP president] Amit Shah’s rally in her constituency earlier this month also disturbed her,” the MLA, known to be close to Ms. Noor, said.Bengal Congress president Somendra Nath Mitra said that Ms. Noor’s exit will not affect the Congress’ poll prospects in any way, indicating that Ghani Khan Choudhury’s nephew, Isha Khan Choudhury, will be its Malda-North candidate in the Lok Sabha elections. If so, then the seat will witness a fight between two cousins – Mausam Benazir Noor from the TMC and Isha Khan Choudhury from the Congress.The BJP’s vote percentage may improve if the family fight splits the minority vote in the constituency. Malda district has over 51% Muslim vote, as per the 2011 census. Trends indicate that in some blocks of Malda, the BJP has managed to woo sections of the tribal people who earlier always voted for the Left.last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *