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Controversy man looks set for double hattrick

Written by: Staff
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Kolkata, Apr 24 (UNI) Known for his maverick ways and knack of attracting controversies, West Bengal Transport and Sports minister Subhas Chakrabarty is seeking re-election for the sixth consecutive time from Belgachia (East) constituency here.

When the state goes for its fourth phase polls, it will see one of the most ''colourful leaders'' within the Left ranks fight it out after putting his CPI(M) bosses in a spot with his outlandish comments against the Election Commission.

Currently under an invisible scanner for his verbal tirade against the Election Commission, Mr Chakrabarty faces a tough battle this time from his erstwhile disciple.

''I am not afraid of Election Commission or anyone to tell the truth,'' said Mr Chakrabarty on many occasions, while he openly criticised the Election Commission and its officials time and again during campaigning and invited criminal charges.

Mr Chakrabarty was the first minister against whom the EC registered a criminal case at the Lake Town police station in North 24-Parganas under at least 2 sections of the IPC and investigations are being conducted.

A poll veteran since 1977 when CPI-M state secretary Promod Dasgupta had chosen him as a fit candidate from the seat Mr Chakrabarty never looked back since. After that, Mr Chakrabarty's, popularity surged and he became one of the hardcore leaders of the Alimuddin street Brigade.

Though Mr Chakrabarty won the 1977 election defeating his nearest Janata Party rival by a margin of 20,853 votes, the margin of his win in the 2001 elections against his nearest All India Trinamool Congress rival reduced to 4444 in a six-cornered contest.

Under the prevailing situation, Mr Chakrabarty's prospects in the 2006 elections invite many questions.

Sources said, Mr Chakrabarty is not very popular in the party officialdom and some leaders in North 24 Parganas may not come out for Mr Chakrabarty on the plea of the Election Commission's role, which Mr Chakrabarty described as ''unconstitutional and undemocratic''.

It was also against the party mandate to provide a ticket to any one more than three times. Yet, Mr Chakrabarty was accorded a favour for his crowd pulling ability that no doubt helped the party to establish its popularity through mass meetings, some leaders at the district headquarters of the party pointed out.

Mr Chakrabarty's presence in the district committee was also questioned a few years back and the dispute was resolved after the intervention of veteran leaders like Jyoti Basu and former state Secretary Anil Biswas.

However, he was neither considered for membersip of the state secretariat or the polit bureau.

He is likely to face a stiff challenge this time from arch rival and Trinamool Congress nominee Sujit Basu, one of his former lieutenants from Lake Town, whom he defeated by a meagre difference of just two per cent votes during the last elections in a six-cornered election.

Sujit Basu joined the Trinamool Congress and fought against Mr Chakrabarty from Belgachhia (East) in 2001.

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