Kolkata: Unfazed by Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee's warning, Congress strongman in Murshidabad and party MP Adhir Chowdhury on Thursday piled pressure on the Congress-TMC alliance by openly canvassing for a rebel nominee backed by him in the district.
"The TMC has no base in Murshidabad district which is a Congress stronghold. I want the TMC to withdraw its candidates from four seats as they have no chance of winning. The CPM instead will stand to gain if the TMC contests," Chowdhury said at an election programme on Thursday at Bhaganbangola, 250 km from Kolkata.
The TMC has put up candidates in Sagardighi, Bhagabangola, Hariharpara and Jalangi for the alliance. Chowdhury who was sore over the way the alliance was struck with the TMC at the former's terms had recently said that if the party high command expelled him or asked him to step down as MP he was ready.
"What I do, I do openly. I don't conspire. If the independents win, it will be a Congress win and for the Congress-TMC alliance. I cannot allow the Congress to be weakened," Chowdhury said while canvassing for rebel nominee
Syed Alamgir. Alamgir is a Chowdhury loyalist and has filed nomination as an Independent against TMC district leader Sagir Hossain.
In the 2006 assembly polls, Chowdhury, who represents the Berhampore Lok Sabha seat, had backed Independents against two Congress candidates, including late party veteran Atish Sinha. Both independents won, defeating Sinha in Kandi and Mayarani Pal in Behrampore. Confident of victory of the rebels, Chowdhury claimed that the Independent candidates backed by him in the four seats would support Mamata Banerjee if the Congress and TMC combine won in the Assembly elections.
"It will be acceptable if Mamata Banerjee withdraws her candidates from the four seats," he said. Congress won all three seats in Murshidabad district in 2009 including Jangipur represented by Pranab Mukherjee.
The district has 22 Assembly seats, three more than last time because of delimitation. In the 2006 Assembly elections, the Congress had won five seats and the Left the rest.
Subrata Saha, the TMC district president who is contesting from the Sagardighi assembly seat which falls in the Jangipur Lok Sabha seat criticised Chowdhury. "By fielding independent candidates against the TMC nominees he is trying to help the CPM through the backdoor," he said.
Mukherjee had on Sunday warned that those opposing the party's official candidates by fielding independents against TMC candidates would be expelled from the party for six years.
Several Congress leaders including six time MLA Ram Pyare Ram and the sitting MLA Abdul Khaleq Mollah who were denied nominations have nevertheless decided to file nominations against TMC nominees.