Burdwan, April 11: CPM activists of Bhatar area of the district have joined residents in calling for a boycott of the forthcoming panchayat polls.
“We are CPM members and have always returned our party to power in every election since the panchayat system was set up,” said local party leader Rabiul Sheikh, a resident of the Bamsore gram panchayat area. “But we are yet to see any development. So we have decided to boycott the elections.”
The villagers, accompanied by party workers, are organising rallies and processions every day to spread awareness on this “very popular” stand. The villagers have even wiped out — using cow dung — graffiti by the party’s electioneering machinery.
Bilkis Ara Begum, a candidate for the elections, conceded that the villagers were justified in taking such a step. “Lack of development has made the people very impatient and they are not wrong in being vocal about the state of affairs. Very little has been done by way of development,” she said.
Bhatar’s MLA, Subhas Mondol of the CPM, dismissed the grievances as baseless. “There has been a lot of development in the area. What can the party do if the people decide to boycott the polls'” he asked. However, Mondol declined to give details of projects implemented in Bamsore.
Villagers say, except for two houses, power remains a distant dream for the 10,000-odd villagers in the area, despite residents making repeated appeals to the authorities.
“We used to have a proper drainage system 25 years ago. But now the canals are choked with silt and for the past several monsoons our village has remained waterlogged for three months each year,” said CPM activist Hakim Sheikh.