Sept. 29: Trinamul and Congress leaders of Jalpaiguri district have approached the two zilla parishad members of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha seeking their support in electing the leader of Opposition at the rural body.
Jalpaiguri zilla parishad is the only rural body retained by the Left Front in the region with the party winning 27 of the 37 seats.
Of the remaining 10 seats, Trinamul and the Congress have four each and Morcha and the JMM have one each.
“It is evident that whichever party, Trinamul or the Congress, will get the support of the two members (of the Morcha and the JMM), will have the opportunity to name one of the four members for the post of the leader of Opposition. Both the parties have put their best efforts to woo the two candidates,” an observer said.
Before the rural polls, Trinamul leaders held talks with the JMM and obtained consent of John Barla and his supporters for a post-poll alliance.
Trinamul leaders said if the leader of Opposition is from the party, he would insist the Left Front-run body to take up welfare schemes for backward tribal people and Gorkhas of the Dooars.
“Our chief minister, other cabinet ministers and party leaders have proved their sincerity and commitment to the residents of Dooars through the implementation of an array of welfare schemes and formation of bodies such as the Dooars Terai Development Council. Several demands raised by the local people have been met by the state government. We have reiterated this to JMM and GJM leaders while urging them to support us,” said Chandan Bhowmik, Jalpaiguri district Trinamul president.
Binod Tigga, the JMM assistant secretary, hinted at supporting the ruling party. “The new government has met most of our demands right from wage revision of tea workers to declaring leave for Karam Puja and setting up a Hindi College. Support of our member (Puja Kuzur, who won from Metelli block) is important for the election of the leader of the opposition and we will support Trinamul,” he said.
“As far as the member of Morcha is concerned (Swagat Thapa from Birpara-Madarihat block), we are in consultation with the leaders in the Dooars and have urged them to accept our decision,” he added.
Madhukar Thapa, a central committee member of the Morcha in Dooars, said: “It is true that there had been alliances with Trinamul in the lower rungs and the managing committee elections of some schools. But we cannot undermine the souring relations between our central leaders and the state over statehood and the oppressive stance taken by the government against the movement in the hills. These are some key factors that are holding us back.”
“Both the Congress and Trinamul have approached us. We will hold a meeting tomorrow and decide.”
Administrative sources said the leader of Opposition would be chosen next week.
Mohan Bose, Jalpaiguri district Congress president, said: “We have sought support from both to keep Trinamul away. We are hopeful that both will support our candidate.”