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In West Bengal, sons also rise

Smita Gupta

NEW DELHI: Three of the 65 Congress candidates for the West Bengal Assembly elections are sons of sitting MPs.

Union Finance Minister and Jangipur MP Pranab Mukherjee's son Abhijit Mukherjee will contest from Nalhati; Malda Dakshin MP Abu Hasem Khan Choudhury's son Isha Khan Choudhury from Baisnabnagar; and two-time Murshidabad MP Abdul Mannan Hossain's son Soumik Hossain will try his luck from Domkal.

Mr. Abhijit Mukherjee resigned last month from a public sector firm, where he worked as an executive, to enter the rough and tumble of politics. In the case of Isha Khan Choudhury, it is clearly a family vocation. Not only is his father an MP and cousin Mausam Noor currently the MP from Malda Uttar and West Bengal Youth Congress chief, but his uncle, a former Railway Minister, was the legendary A.B.A. Ghani Khan Choudhury, who represented Malda from 1980 till his death in 2006.

As for Soumik Hossain, Baharampur MP and strongman Adhir Ranjan Choudhury had strongly opposed his nomination, but in the end he made it, thanks to the backing of the Youth Congress, sources said.

The names of Pradesh Congress Committee president Manas Bhuniya and Congress Legislature Party leader Abu Hena also figure in the list announced here on Friday. Mr. Bhuniya will contest from Sabang, and Mr. Hena from Lalgola.

Muslim candidates

Like the Left Front and the Trinamool Congress, the Congress too has ensured that a good chunk of the seats has gone to Muslim candidates, given that a quarter of the population in the State are Muslims. Of the party's 65 candidates, 21 are Muslim.

Given that these elections come in the wake of delimitation, some constituencies held by sitting Congress MLAs have vanished, creating problems for the party. For instance, senior MLA Ram Pyare Ram has not been accommodated, as the seat that was closest to the one he held before its contours changed has been taken by the TMC. Mr. Ram is threatening to contest as an Independent.

Similarly, two other sitting MLAs, Abdul Khaleque Molla and Mohammad Fazle Haque, have not been re-nominated, because their constituencies have changed. However, sitting MLA from Kharagpur Rural Gyan Singh Sohanpal has been given the ticket for Kharagpur Sadar — the Congress is still hoping to exchange the seat with the TMC.

Meanwhile, of the 30 candidates the Youth Congress proposed, about half-a-dozen have made the cut, while just seven women have been given ticket.

Senior party leaders who will contest the elections include D.P. Ray, Ghulam Rabbani and Abu Naser Khan Chaudhury.

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