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4 May 2018

For some poll rivals, family fights come first TMC dad shows BJP son door

Bhognarayan Das and (below) his son Amal. Pictures by Anirban Choudhury
Anirban Choudhury, TT,  May 04,  Alipurduar: A retired schoolteacher contesting the rural polls on a Trinamul ticket in Alipurduar has asked his son to stay out of their house after he rejected appeals to withdraw his nomination as a BJP candidate.

Bhognarayan Das, 68, is so annoyed that he has told Amal not to even visit the family's sweet shop near their home in Purbo Chikliguri village. The shop was the only source of livelihood for Amal, who is married and has a 12-year-old son.

Left with no option, Amal is now having to having to put up at his in-laws' home in Kumargram, around 35km away, and travel over 70km both ways every day to come to Purbo Chikliguri for campaigning and return.

The father-son feud is now the staple of tea-stall talk in Purbo Chikliguri as villagers have animated conversations over how politics has built a "wall" in the Das family.

After Amal filed his nomination, Trinamul piled pressure on him to withdraw but the 42-year-old was adamant on contesting.

Later, Amal, his wife and their son came home but his father asked them to leave.

"The BJP has harmed our family. Amal should not contest as a BJP candidate. He should have run our sweet shop. I repeatedly asked him not to contest but when he did not listen, I asked him to stay away and not to go to the shop either," said Bhognarayan, who cycles around in the village to meet residents.

For the past 40 years, Bhognarayan or his wife alone have bagged the seat. He had won as aTrinamul candidate in 2008 and as a Congress nominee in 2003.

Amal bemoaned the turn of events and the fact that his father had asked him to leave home "where they had been eating together until seven days ago".

"I am not allowed to go to the sweet shop either. I don't mind it. It is really tough for me to cover 70km and come here for campaigning. But I have to manage somehow."

Amal is hopeful of a change of heart, though.

"Politics is based on ideology but my father took it personally. Whatever happens, my father is very well respected in the area and I will not utter a single word against him," Amal said.

"I tell people about the dishonesty of Trinamul leaders and the BJP's plans. I hope my father realises the truth after the polls. If people support me, I will win. The sad thing is my father did not even think of my son (in asking us to leave home)," Amal added.

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