Sept. 4: Relations between the Trinamul Congress and Gorkha Janmukti Morcha might be sour on the statehood issue but that has not prevented candidates of either parties from joining hands and forming boards in at least two panchayat samitis in Jalpaiguri district — Madarihat and Nagrakata.
Before the elections, both Trinamul and Morcha leaders had hinted at a post-poll alliance to form the boards.
In Madarihat panchayat samiti there are 26 seats and the Left Front secured 12. Trinamul, which won five seats, and the Morcha-Jharkhand Mukti Morcha alliance that got nine, together formed the board yesterday.
“We joined hands to keep the Left away from the board. There is no other reason. The decision to form the panchayat samiti board is purely local and based on consensus. The Morcha-JMM alliance has supported us without any rider,” said Pankaj Das, Madarihat block president of Trinamul.
Sonu Ghisingh of the Morcha-JMM alliance and Takdir Biswakarma of Trinamul were chosen as the sabhapati and saha-sabhapati of the panchayat samiti respectively.
Dinesh Kami, the Madarihat zonal secretary of the Morcha, said: “It is the central government that can give us a separate state. Our prime agenda is Gorkhaland but we are (also) concerned about development of people in the Dooars. During the Left Front regime, nothing was done for the people in the Dooars and now we want to work for them. That is why we have tied up with Trinamul.”
In Nagrakata, the same alliance formed the board yesterday.
Out of the 14 seats of the panchayat samiti, Trinamul, JMM-Morcha alliance and the Congress had earned three seats each.
The CPM had won four seats while one seat went to an Independent.
“There was an initial plan that the Congress and CPM would join hands but ultimately Trinamul and Morcha-JMM alliance secured the board as the Left Front and the Congress stayed away from voting,” said a source.
The names of Hemanta Roy from Trinamul and Priya Chhetri of Morcha-JMM alliance were proposed for posts of sabhapati and saha-sabhapati respectively.
“The Congress and the CPM neither opposed not supported the candidates and did not submit any names for the two posts. Both the candidates won uncontested,” the source said.
In 2008, both the Madarihat and Nagrakata panchayat samitis were with the Left Front.
“The sole point where we reached at a consensus is development. No other political issues came in way of the decision to join hands,” Asitava Basu, a Trinamul leader said.
The Morcha-JMM alliance did not find any Trinamul candidate for the Metelli panchayat samiti, close to Nagrakata, and there they have voted in favour of the CPM to form the board.
“Apart from Metelli, we have also joined hands with the GJM-JMM alliance and formed boards in two panchayats (Ingdong-Metelli and Batabari-I) in Metelli block,” Shankar Biswas, the Metelli zonal secretary of CPM, said.