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23 Apr 2018

Bride for son to beat quota... SC daughter-in-law fielded in reserved seat

Minu Das (left) with daughter-in-law Uma Adhikary. Picture by Main Uddin Chisti 
Main Uddin Chisti, TT, Apr 23, 2018, Cooch Behar: A Trinamul gram panchayat member in Cooch Behar's Dinhata got her son married to a Scheduled Caste girl recently and has fielded her daughter-in-law to contest from a seat that has been reserved for SC women this time, family sources and associates of the politician have said.

Minu Das, the outgoing member of the Putimari-1 seat, learnt in January that her general seat would be converted into a reserved one. Realising she would not be able to contest polls this year, the 52-year-old spoke to a neighbour, who suggested she get her elder son married to an SC girl and field the new member of the family as a candidate.

"Minudi became very worried when she came to know that the seat has been reserved for SC women. She was keen someone from her family should contest from the seat instead of an outsider. We suggested to her to get her elder son Raju married to an SC girl and she agreed. Then we started looking for an SC girl," a close associate of Minu said on Sunday.

Minu's family said the marriage decision was taken after the change in the seat's profile and that son Raju tied the knot with Uma Adhikary, a 23-year-old SC girl, in the last week of February to ensure that someone from the family is eligible to contest from the seat this time.

Uma has filed her nomination and many in Putimari expect her to follow in the footsteps of her mother-in-law and become a panchayat member.

"Dada (Raju) has married Uma Adhikary so she can be made a candidate in the seat. Our party has given her (Uma) a ticket. We are sure she will win," said Rana Das, the younger son of Minu who is also a Trinamul leader.

In 2013, Minu had the seat as a candidate of the Forward Bloc but had joined Tinamul a day after her victory.

During her term at the Putimari panchayat, Minu was seen as a competent member and was popular among the residents.

In the past five years, Trinamul has built a strong base in Putimari, and many in the area had expected Uma to win the seat uncontested.

The hopes of a walkover were dashed recently when Dulali Barman, the wife of local Trinamul Youth Congress leader Uttam Barman, filed her nomination as an Independent candidate.

Leaders of Trinamul and the party's youth wing have been locked in a turf war in Dinhata and other parts of Cooch Behar over the past few months, triggering clashes and a former panchayat member's murder in recent weeks and casting a shadow on the party's poll prospects.

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