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Posted at: Apr 22, 2019, 7:02 AM; last updated: Apr 22, 2019, 7:04 AM (IST)

Ex-Prez Pranab’s son faces fresh challenge in Jangipur

Not CPM, but TMC, BJP candidates making it tough for Abhijit
Ex-Prez Pranab’s son faces fresh challenge in Jangipur

Shubhadeep Choudhury                                                                                                                        

Tribune News Service

Jangipur, April 21

Having won the last two elections (one a byelection) by narrow margins, Congress candidate Abhijit Mukherjee, son of former President Pranab Mukherjee, is facing a tough challenge in his constituency Jangipur.

  Abhijit;s victory margin in the 2012 byelection after Pranab Mukherjee quit the seat and became President was 2,536 votes. He again won in 2014, polling a mere 8,000 votes more than his rival  Muzaffar Hossain of the CPM, the main challenger in the byelection too.

  With the CPM having lost much ground in Jangipur, the TMC and BJP have emerged as the two new rivals threatening to topple his applecart. “I am cent per cent hopeful about winning, going by the  response of the people”, he claims. He, however, complains of the “administrative head” of state (read CM Mamata Banerjee)” exerting “pressure” on the local administration to create hurdles in his way.

  “Many of his old associates have switched to the TMC. Among them are Raghunathganj Congress MLA Akhruzzaman, block president Mukti Prasad Dhar and former MLA Saurav Master”, says Subhasish Chakraborty, president of BJP Jangipur town committee. Abhjit says the party has not weakened because of the desertions.

  Kanai Mandal, the CPM MLA from Nabagram, and Asish Marjit, the Congress MLA from Khargram,  have also defected to the TMC, which won the Jangipur and Sagardighi seats in the Assembly elections held in 2017. With these desertions, five of the seven Assembly segments constituting the Lok Sabha constituency are controlled by the TMC which has fielded Khalilur Rahman, a beedi merchant, in Jangipur.

Only four of the 11 candidates in fray in the Muslim-majority constituency are Hindus, Abhijit being the most formidable. Of the remaining three candidates, two are Independents and one is from the little known Purvanchal Janata Party (Secular).

It is unlikely that Hindu voters of the constituency will back Abhijit en bloc. Many may go with the BJP and vote for Mafuja Khatun. “We are keeping a low profile, but will reveal our mind on the polling day,” says a local resident. “The key challenge is to ensure a free and fair poll”, says Ali, a Congress sympathiser masquerading as a TMC man. 

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