The spotlight for the September 30 West Bengal assembly bypolls has been, predictably, fixed on the Bhabanipur seat where chief minister Mamata Banerjee is a contestant. But in the Samserganj constituency of Murshidabad district that will also see polling, a peculiar situation has emerged. One of the candidates here is the Congress’s Jaidur Raheman, who got the ticket after party nominee Rezaul Haque died of Covid during the assembly elections this year and the polls were deferred. But, unlike other candidates, Jaidur has no campaign schedule, no strategy meetings and not too many worries. Because, while he has submitted his nomination, he does not want to fight.
After Rezaul’s death, the Congress had initially asked his wife to contest from the seat, but she declined. Then Jaidur, a local businessman and popular face, was approached and he agreed. However, now he has had a change of heart. And his twin brother may have something to do with it.
Speaking to News18, Jaidur said, “See, at that time, people told me to contest and the Congress gave me a ticket. So I was interested. My twin brother, Khalilur Raheman, is the Trinamool Congress MP from Jangipur and he is now in charge of this entire area. He is two minutes older than me. If I contest, there will be a problem at home and I don’t want that.”
This has put the Congress in a predicament as it cannot change its candidate now. The party is still trying to convince Jaidur to put up a fight.
Congress block president Saidul Islam told News18, “He is in two minds. We are asking him to contest. The decision will come in a day or two. Meanwhile, we are telling our workers to paint the Congress symbol on walls in the area and do the usual things. The Congress has support there. What will the Congress voters do?”
Analysts say it will be interesting to see which way the Congress votes gravitate if Jaidur backs out.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Malda Congress candidate Abu Hasem Khan Choudhury got the lead in Samserganj.
Trinamool Congress MLA Amirul Islam is contesting from the seat and the CPI(M) too has fielded a candidate. In the 2016 assembly polls, Amirul won the seat with 48,381 (30.41%) votes. The CPI(M)’s Touab Ali was not far behind with 46,601 (29.31%) votes. The Congress’s Rezaul Haque got 42,389 (26.66%) votes.
The bypolls will be held for Bhabanipur, Samserganj and Jangipur on September 30 and the results will be announced on October 3.