Hariharpara, Aug. 12: Congress leaders have allegedly confined 11 victorious gram panchayat candidates in Murshidabad to a “safe house” for the past 13 days and confiscated their cellphones fearing Trinamul would try to buy some of them off to form the board.
Following a meeting on July 31, the Congress candidates of the Hariharpara gram panchayat, where the party has won one seat more than nearest rival Trinamul, were taken in cars to the empty one-storeyed house of a local leader and kept confined there.
Of the panchayat’s 22 seats, the Congress has won 11 and Trinamul 10. The remaining seat has gone to an Independent. “We fear that Trinamul will try to poach the Independent and buy off at least one of our members to attain majority and form the board. We have asked the 11 members not to step out of the house. They are being watched constantly,” a Congress leader in Hariharpara said.
The process of forming boards will start on Friday.
Abu Sama Sheikh, the husband of elected member Sagira Bibi, said that after the meeting, the 11 were taken to Nasipur village, 2km away.
“My wife and the other panchayat members have been kept in the house of block general secretary Alamgir Khan,” Abu said.
Khan said no force had been applied.
Murshidabad Trinamul president Mohammad Ali said the party had no intention of influencing elected members of the Congress at the district level. “But we don’t know what is happening at the block level,” he said.