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North Dinajpur Left rural control totters

Raiganj, Aug. 24: The Left Front could lose control of the North Dinajpur zilla parishad as six of its members are poised to join Trinamul in Calcutta in a day or two, sources in the CPM said today.

If the switch does happen, the Left will be left at the helm of only one zilla parishad of the six districts in north Bengal — Jalpaiguri. Alipurduar does not have a zilla parishad yet.

The five CPM members and one RSP member are already believed to be in Calcutta to join the state’s ruling party, the sources in the CPM said.

In the 2013 panchayat elections, the Left Front had formed the board with 13 members — CPM 10, RSP two and Forward Bloc one — in the 26-seat zilla parishad.

The Congress had won in eight seats and the Trinamul five.

A Congress leader in North Dinajpur today said the party should support Trinamul in bringing the no-confidence motion against the Left board, but the Congress would not join the board. But district Congress chief Mohit Sengupta spoke against supporting Trinamul but left it to the zilla parishad members to take the final call.

In the past one year, there have been complaints from both the Congress and Trinamul that the Left-run zilla parishad had failed to carry out any development work in the district.

According to the CPM sources, the six Left members — the CPM’s Mohammad Hafizuddin from Islampur, Shibani Singh from Chopra, Alema Noori from Goalpokhar I, Bipasha Das Sinha of Karandighi, Prafulla Chandra Barman of Hemtabad and the RSP’s Mohsina Khatun also from Hemtabad — have become incommunicado.

“In the past week these six members have left home and switched off their mobile phones. We cannot contact them,” said a CPM source.

A source in Trinamul said: “The six Left Front members are under the care of Gautam Pal and they left for Calcutta on August 22.”

The Trinamul source said: “Once Mamata Banerjee gives the go-ahead, they will join our party at the Trinamul Bhavan in Calcutta.”

The switch would take Trinamul’s number up to 11, while the Left’s strength would be reduced to seven.

“We need 14 members for the majority. We have approached the Congress but we are yet to know their stand on supporting us. If the Congress does not support us, we will form a minority board,” a Trinamul source said.

The Trinamul leadership said the six members have decided to join their party as the Left had failed to work in the past year.

“These six Left zilla parishad members had approached us as they were dissatisfied with the way the zilla parishad was being run. They have instead decided to support the wave of development our chief minister has succeeded in ushering all over the state. We have welcomed them. After they join us, we will form a board that will work for development. For that, we will appeal for support from all quarters,” said Amal Acharjee, the president of the North Dinajpur Trinamul.

A senior Congress member of the zilla parishad, who did not want to be named, said the Left-run board had shelved all development work that was planned by the outgoing Congress board.

“The Left Front sabhadhipati, Ladli Chowdhury, had been acting in a politically motivated manner. That the six Left members have decided to defect is their matter. However, in the interest of the development of the district, we should support the Trinamul when they bring the motion of no-confidence against the present sabhadhipati. But we will not join the board,” the Congress member said.

Mohit Sengupta, the district Congress president, said that the party was against supporting Trinamul.

“The party stand is not to support the Trinamul Congress. However, we will leave it to our zilla parishad members to decide,” Sengupta said.

CPM state secretariat member Mohammed Salim, also party MP from Raiganj in North Dinjapur, said tonight that those who had joined Trinamul were “subjected to threats and humiliation by the ruling Trinamul”.

“What has happened in North Dinajpur is a manifestation of Trinamul’s statewide terror tactics,” he said.

A Trinamul general secretary, however, dismissed the CPM's claim.

“Party people are deserting the CPM because of its lack of relevance to the people,” he said.