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SMP seats to increase

Siliguri, April 25: The district administration has come out with a draft break-up of the number of seats that could increase in the Siliguri Mahakuma Parishad, scheduled to go to polls in June this year.

The seats have been increased in each gram panchayat and panchayat samiti after a delimitation exercise, keeping in mind the growing population in the rural areas of Siliguri subdivision.

The number of panchayats and panchayat samitis have been kept the same but the number of seats in each has been increased. In the topmost tier, two seats have been proposed to be added.

“We have already made two draft publications for the changes in seats of panchayats and panchayat samitis across the sub-division. The draft delimitation-cum-reservation orders have been issued for the two lower tiers and suggestions and objections have been sought from people in general and also from political parties,” Manish Verma, the district panchayat and rural development officer of Darjeeling, said.

Administrative sources said that as some of the political parties have demanded that the all-party meeting be held at block levels, Punit Yadav, the district magistrate, has instructed BDOs of all four blocks to call the meeting. “The meeting would be held in all four blocks on April 29 at 11am,” an official said.

According to administrative sources, after the hearing conducted on draft delimitation and reservation of seats, the final orders with new seats in panchayats and panchayat samitis are to be published by the district magistrate. The final order on the increase in seats of the highest tier, the Mahakuma Parishad, would be done by the state election commission.

The last Parishad polls in Siliguri were held in 2009 in which the CPM bagged the SMP by winning in four of the seven seats. The Congress got three.

Of the four panchayat samitis, the Left and Congress won two each while most of the 22 panchayats had majority of the Trinamul-Congress alliance.

But the situation changed after the Congress and Trinamul severed ties in 2012. All Congress members of the SMP and a CPM member switched to Trinamul, bringing the parishad under the party.