Malda, Aug. 19: Sworn political enemies Trinamul and CPM today joined hands to form the Kotwali gram panchayat, keeping out the Congress which had won the maximum seats in the Khan Chowdhury family’s backyard.
The Congress had won seven seats of the total 15, the CPM six and Trinamul two.
The CPM, though it had more members than Trinamul, settled for the deputy pradhan’s post, leaving the pradhan’s chair for Trinamul.
The Kotwali gram panchayat was with the Congress in 2003 and 2008.
This is, however, not the only instance where the bitter rivals have joined hands to keep the Congress at bay.
On August 16, the Left Front, with 11 members, defeated the Congress in the Sahapur gram panchayat in Old Malda, with the support of Trinamul and the BJP that had a seat each.
The Congress has 10 members in the 23-member gram panchayat.
While the pradhan’s post was won by the CPM nominee, a Trinamul member became the deputy pradhan.
Left red-faced by the developments, the district leadership of the CPM in Malda has vowed to take action against the party members who sided with Trinamul.
“We cannot tread the same path as those who indulge in unethical politics. Our policy was to form panchayats where we are in the majority and sit in the Opposition where we are not. We will have to take disciplinary action against those who sided with Trinamul and purge them from the party,” said CPM district secretary Ambar Mitra.
No party could garner sufficient number to form the board at the Kotwali gram panchayat after the results of the recent elections had been declared.
In today’s polls, Rama Chowdhury of Trinamul was chosen the pradhan with securing eight votes against the Congress’s seven.
The CPM’s Yakub Ali was elected as the deputy pradhan.
The manner in which the Congress was prevented from gaining control of the gram panchayat located in the heart of the late A.B.A. Ghani Khan Chowdhury’s fiefdom has left the party embarrassed.
A livid Abu Hasem Khan Chowdhury, the district president of the Congress and Union minister of state for health, lashed out at the CPM and Trinamul for helping each other to harm the Congress.
“Let Trinamul say what it will openly, but under the surface, it’s the ‘A’ team of the CPM. Trinamul is in power because of the CPM and what happened today is a glaring example of just that. No force can weaken the Congress in this manner.”
Trinamul district president and and state minister Sabitri Mitra said: “We had decided to contest the posts of pradhans in all gram panchayats. If we get support from outside, what can we do? However, we have also decided that we will have no truck with the CPM. I don’t know what happened in Kotwali. I will seek necessary information and then decide on what steps to take.”