Ghani Khan legacy continues in Malda

Kolkata: Congress stalwart Abu Barkat Ataul Ghani Khan Chowdhury died eight years ago but the legacy of the man who never lost an election in Malda continued as two of his relatives went on to retain the twin Lok Sabha seats in this West Bengal district.

Ghani Khan’s niece Mausam Noor retained Malda North defeating her nearest rival Khagen Murmu of the Communist Party of India-Marxist by 65,705 votes. His brother and union minister Abu Hasem Khan Choudhury trounced BJP’s Bisnu Pada Roy by 164,111 votes for a second term from Malda South.

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Considered a fiefdom of Ghani Khan, widely respected for his development work, Congress politics in Malda continued to revolve around the late leader as both Mausam and Hassem liberally used his photos and cut-outs and referred to the late leader in their speeches.

In a stark contrast, ailing Congress stalwart Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi, who once held sway in Raiganj, could not provide the saving grace to his relatives – sitting MP and wife Deepa and brother Satya Ranjan who contested against his sister-in-law on a Trinamool Congress ticket.

CPI-M’s Mohammad Salim edged out Deepa by just 1,356 votes. Satya Ranjan polled over 1.92 lakh votes to finish a dismal fourth when the Trinamool scored a massive mandate bagging 34 of the West Bengal’s 42 seats.

Dasmunsi, who began his chequered political career from Raiganj in the late 1960s, won the Lok Sabha seat twice in 1999 and 2004. After his illness, Deepa emerged victorious in 2009.

Both Deepa and Satya Ranjan widely evoked Dasmunsi in their poll campaign.