March 28, 2009

Political feud within Ghani Khan family

KOLKATA: “I have been stabbed in the back,” failed aspirant for the Congress ticket from West Bengal’s Malda North constituency, Abu Naser Khan Choudhury, brother of A.B.A. Ghani Khan Choudhury, said on Thursday.

He was talking to The Hindu after learning that he was denied nomination, losing out to his niece Mausam Benazir Noor, who would be contesting the seat in the Lok Sabha elections.“The image of our family which continues to have a magnetic influence here has been tarnished; my niece is too inexperienced for the task ahead and my brother, Abu Hasem Khan Choudhury, is shattered by this decision of the Congress High Command,” he said over telephone from the family’s ancestral home in Kotwali near Malda.

Dynastic politics has taken a toll. The Khan Choudhury family has enjoyed popular support in large parts of Malda, the likes of which not too many other families are known to have had in West Bengal. It is attributed to A.B.A. Ghani Khan Choudhury, local icon and undisputed strongman of the Congress in the district when he was alive.

“We, the rest of the family, are all beneficiaries of my brother, A.B.A. Ghani Khan Choudhury’s popularity. But today there is anger within us, I am angry for having been replaced by my niece,” Mr. A.N. Khan Choudhury said. His other brother, A.H. Khan Choudhury, is the president of the district unit of the Congress and will be contesting from Malda South. He held the Malda seat in the previous Lok Sabha.
Mr. A.N. Khan Choudhury’s nomination for the Malda North — the other new constituency that has emerged following delimitation of Malda — was seldom in doubt by local leaders. But before he could present a verification document to the poll authorities, the party nominated his niece.

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