Adhir Chowdhury Responds As Trinamool Picks Yusuf Pathan For His Bastion

Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said the Trinamool should have sent Yusuf Pathan to Rajya Sabha if it wanted to honour him.

Adhir Chowdhury Responds As Trinamool Picks Yusuf Pathan For His Bastion

Trinamool has fielded cricketer Yusuf Pathan from the Baharampur seat.


Former Team India cricketer Yusuf Pathan is the Trinamool's candidate from Baharampur, a Congress stronghold represented by its Lok Sabha leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury. Though the Congress is yet to name its candidates for Bengal, Mr Chowdhury is likely to seek a recontest from the seat that he has represented five times as an MP.

On his likely face-off against the former cricketer, Mr Chowdhury said the Trinamool should have sent Mr Pathan to Rajya Sabha if the party wanted to honour him.

"Outsiders were nominated to the Rajya Sabha from Bengal. If Trinamool wanted to honour Yusuf Pathan, it should have sent him to the Rajya Sabha. If Mamata Banerjee had good intentions, she would have asked the (INDIA) alliance to get Yusuf Pathan a seat in Gujarat. But here he is selected as a candidate to polarise the common man and to help the BJP, so that Congress can be defeated," he said.

He said Ms Banerjee has proven today that no political party should trust a leader like her.

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"Mamata Banerjee is in fear that if she continues to be in the INDIA alliance, (Prime Minister) Modi ji will be unhappy. By separating herself from the INDIA alliance, she has sent a message to the PMO, 'don't be unhappy with me, I am not standing to fight against the BJP'," said Mr Chowdhury.

Mr Pathan thanked Ms Banerjee for the opportunity and said, "As representatives of the people, it is our duty to uplift the poor and deprived, and that is what I hope to achieve."

The Mamata Banerjee-led party today announced candidates for all 42 seats in Bengal, making it official there is no alliance with the non-BJP parties in the state.

The Congress and the Trinamool are together in the INDIA alliance - at least for the optics - though it has not shaped into a seat-sharing strategy in Bengal. The Trinamool is believed to have offered Baharampur and another seat to the Congress, but decided to go solo as the grand old party pressed for a bigger share of seats.

In a swift response, the Congress said it has repeatedly declared its desire to have a respectable seat-sharing agreement with the Trinamool in West Bengal.

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"The Indian National Congress has always maintained that such an agreement has to be finalised through negotiations and not by unilateral announcements. The Indian National Congress has always wanted the INDIA group to fight the BJP together," said senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh.

Fielding a popular figure like Mr Pathan from Mr Chowdhury's stronghold is being seen as the Trinamool's response to his repeated attacks on the party.

Mr Chowdhury, a staunch Trinamool critic, had earlier said his party "won't beg for seats from the TMC" and accused the INDIA partner of "serving Prime Minister Narendra Modi" rather than strengthening the opposition alliance. Furious over such remarks, the Trinamool had asserted that "badmouthing alliance partners and seat sharing can't go hand in hand".