Congress changes Bhawanipore candidate, pitches Deepa Dasmunsi against Mamata Banerjee

The announcement was made minutes after a meeting of the state Congress with the Central Election Committee.

Written by Arshad Ali | Kolkata | Updated: March 18, 2016 11:08:15 am

NEARLY A week after projecting state Congress general secretary Om Prakash Mishra as the party’s candidate for Bhawanipore, the seat which would be contested by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee on Wednesday said that it now wants Deepa Dasmunsi to contest from there instead.

Announcing its second list of 51 more candidates for the coming Assembly elections, state Congress president Adhir Chowdhury said Dasmunsi’s name has been sent to the All India Congress Committee, and post clearance she will contest from Bhawanipore constituency. The announcement was made minutes after a meeting of the state Congress with the Central Election Committee.

Earlier on March 8, Chowdhury had announced that party state general secretary Om Prakash Mishra would be contesting from Bhawanipore and Mishra had even started campaigning from Tuesday.

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Expressing surprise over the sudden turn of events, Mishra said the confusion is only killing campaign time. “I have been acting according to the instruction of the PCC president (Adhir) and all this confusion is bringing in a lot of negative publicity,” Mishra told The Indian Express.

The Congress leader attributed the change in party’s decision to the sensational sting operation of Narada News, the web portal which released a video showing a number of Trinamool Congress leaders purportedly accepting money to lobby for a fictitious company.

“Earlier, no leader was ready to take on the CM from her constituency and I was the only one who volunteered to contest from here. In the last 48 hours, however, there have been several developments which have renewed the vigour of our party members who are now eager to fight against Mamata Banerjee,” Mishra said.

He added that Dasmunsi is a resident of Rash Behari, a constituency which has been left for the Congress to contest from, as per the seat-sharing arrangement. “She can easily contest from there. As far as I am concerned, I am maintaining a stoic silence in the party till further instruction, but the confusion is definitely killing a lot of campaigning time, which was completely avoidable,” Mishra said.

Meanwhile, Dasmunsi, who had earlier refused to contest the election, said if the central party leadership wants her to be in fray from Bhawanipore, she would readily fight.

Apart from Dasmunsi, the state Congress has also recommended the names of Somen Mitra to contest from Chowringhee, Krishna Debnath from Ballygunge, and Abdul Mannan from Champdani in Hooghly district.

Stating that he was on-board with the party’s decision, Mannan said, “I had told the AICC that my leg would take another three months to heal and it would be good if I am not asked to fight the election. But if the AICC wants me to contest, I will fight.”