Bengal Congress president Somen Mitra (left) and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury in file photographs.
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Kolkata: Congress, which has been in a beleaguered situation in Bengal since 2016 due to the constant poaching by Trinamool, has managed to keep itself alive amidst the nationwide saffron resurgence.

The grand old party has managed to take lead in two out of the 42 seats in Bengal. It is likely that the leads will convert into victory.

A firebrand Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, known for his anti-Trinamool stance, is leading since early in the afternoon in Behrampore seat in Murshidabad district. Around 9 tonight 23 May, he is leading by 67,588 votes.

This is even as Trinamool had gobbled up all his aides in Murshidabad district in the last few years. In fact, Apurba Sarkar, the Trinamool candidate who is trailing behind Chowdhury was a Congress an MLA.

Chowdhury has been representing Behrampore to the Lok Sabha for consecutive fourth term since 1999.

This will be his fifth term to the lower house of the Parliament from a state where Congress has become almost irrelevant for the last several years.

He has managed to take a lead despite an all-out effort by Trinamool Murshidabad observer Suvendu Adhikari to defeat him at all cost. Trinamool’s anger against him is due to his outspoken public criticism of Mamata Banerjee.

Then, this time, there was the additional hindrance in the form of voter polarisation on religious lines. Despite this, the former state Congress president has saved his party from turning into a signboard in Bengal.

The second Lok Sabha seat where Congress is leading in Bengal is Malda South constituency in north Bengal.

Sitting MP Abu Hasem Khan Choudhury alias Dalu is marginally ahead of the BJP in this seat. At 9 pm, he is leading by only 4,697 votes.

There is every indication that the man from Malda’s Ghani Khan Family will win the seat as only tallying EVM records with VVPAT is left.

In 2014, Congress had won four seats in Bengal. The loss of two seats notwithstanding, the win this time is remarkable as BJP has eaten up into a large number of seats of the Trinamool.