After much dilly-dallying Congress finally announced its candidate for the Bardhaman-Durgapur Lok Sabha constituency in the upcoming Lok Sabha election. Leading industrialist Bipin Vohra has been named the Congress candidate from Bardhaman-Durgapur Lok Sabha constituency ending speculation over Pradip Bhattacharya’s nomination for the seat.
With this announcement it has now became clear that Bardhaman-Durgapur Lok Sabha seat will witness a four-pronged battle between Left Front, Trinamool Congress (TMC), Congress and BJP.
Sk. Saidul Haque of CPI(M), the sitting MP of the Bardhaman-Durgapur Lok Sabha seat has been re-nominated as the Left Front candidate. TMC has fielded Dr. Mumtaz Sanghamitra Chowdhury, the retired Head of the department of Gynecology of Kolkata Medical College for the seat. The Congress candidate for the seat, Bipin Vohra is the Chairman & Managing Director of the ‘SPS Group’ that has diversified business agglomerations in the Durgapur industrial belt. The BJP nominated Mrs Debashree Chowdhury as its candidate for the Bardhaman-Durgapur Lok Sabha constituency. She is from Balurghat and is the women wing state secretary of the party.
The announcement yesterday, just a day before Rahul Gandhi’s visit to Kolkata must have come as a relief for Pradip Bhattacharya, the former state Congress president, who was earlier supposed to be fielded for the Bardhaman-Durgapur seat.
Congress leaders and party workers questioned the decision of fielding an outsider and an industrialist for the seat. A Congress leader from Burdwan tonight expressed his resentment over industrialist Vohra’s nomination for the Burdwan-Durgapur seat. “Why should we accept a Calcutta-based industrialist for the Burdwan seat?” he asked.
Citing age-related problems and preoccupation with organisational work, Bhattacharya, a Rajya Sabha member, had expressed his unwillingness to contest the Lok Sabha polls despite state Congress president Adhir Chowdhury wanting veteran leaders like him to be nominated. Even Rahul Gandhi did not force him beyond a point as he has been given another important assignment as the chairman of the campaign committee for in Bengal for the Lok Sabha poll.
A Congress leader said “Bhattacharya could have been a far better candidate” for the seat, recounting that he had won the Burdwan Assembly seat in 1972 and became a minister in Siddhartha Shakar Ray’s cabinet.
Mr. Bipin Kumar Vohra’s SPS Group apart from owning multiple sponge iron units and a TMT rod unit at Durgapur, is also is associated with two of the landmark projects in Durgapur, the NSHM College and IQ City. And most significantly all the ventures of SPS Group under Mr. Vohra started during the former Left Front rule in Bengal.
Kolkata-headquartered SPS group also has a TMT bar and rod mill in Himachal Pradesh. The group is also setting up 1.2 million tonnes per annum (mpta) pellet plant, a 1.7 mpta iron ore fines beneficiation unit, a 0.5 mpta coke oven and a 110 MW captive power plant at Mejia in Bankura adjacent to Durgapur.