ONE NAME on the Congress’s 90-member campaign committee for the West Bengal assembly elections has raised a few eyebrows. The nineteenth name on the list released Monday is that of Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi, the former MP and Information and Broadcasting Minister, who continues to be in coma.
Dasmunsi has been in Apollo Hospital since 2008, after he suffered a stroke and a paralytic attack.
Surprised by the inclusion of his name, his wife, former Union Minister Deepa Dasmunsi, is learnt to have taken up the matter with the party high command.
C P Joshi, the Congress general secretary in charge of West Bengal, however, justified the inclusion of Dasmunsi’s name. “There are 60-70 names in the campaign committee. He (Dasmunsi) is not chairman of the committee. He is a Congress leader, he has goodwill…what is wrong in including his name and using his goodwill in the campaign?” Joshi told The Indian Express.
Joshi also said it was meant as a message to Congress workers on the ground that the party recognises the leader. “Everyone on the campaign committee does not necessarily campaign or speak,” he said, adding that the campaigners will use Dasmunsi’s goodwill among the people.
Deepa Dasmunsi said the inclusion of her husband’s name in the campaign committee has come to her notice and she has spoken to “AICC people”. She told The Indian Express: “Initially his name was there (but) I think it was by mistake, and it has been rectified.”
The AICC, however, had not issued a revised list till late Monday evening.
Rajya Sabha MP and former state Congress president Pradip Bhattacharya is the chairman of the 90-member campaign committee, while Congress Legislature Party leader Md Sohrab is the co-chairman and Manas Ranjan Bhunia the convener. Deepa Dasmunsi is a member.
The party also announced the key election committee to decide the list of candidates, with state Congress chief Adhir Ranjan Chaudhary heading the 18-member panel. Senior leader A H Khan Chaudhury will head the publicity committee while veteran leader Somen Mitra will head the manifesto committee.