The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Tension stews after seat denial

Calcutta, April 15: Grassroots workers of the CPM and the RSP are angry with their party leaderships, which have not renewed nominations to the posts of sabhadhipati and saha-sabhadhipati of South 24-Parganas zilla parishad for the May 11 panchayat elections.

While the zilla parishad sabhadhipati was a CPM member, his deputy was an RSP nominee. Both parties have this time fielded new candidates for the two key posts.

Sobha Dutta, the sabhadhipati, was dropped for being close to former district secretary Samir Putatunda, who left the organisation and joined Saifuddin Chowdhury to form the Party for Democratic Socialism, sources said.

Saha-sabhadhipati Bidhubhusan Mondal — who used to teach English at a local school — was dropped, say a section of RSP leaders, because he spent most of his time giving private tuition.

After the denial of nomination, the sabhadhipati has been maintaining a studied silence but the deputy expressed his anger and has decided not to join campaign meetings.

Mondal said he had reluctantly joined the zilla parishad because he had to maintain his family by teaching in a school. “Only 16 months ago, I joined the zilla parishad by quitting my job. But while selecting candidates for the coming panchayat election, they did not have the courtesy to inform me that my name was not among them. So I have decided not to campaign for party candidates,” he said.

State minor irrigation minister and RSP secretariat member Ganesh Mondal agreed that Mondal should have been informed of the decision to drop him. “But he was not the lone candidate who was dropped. A good number of sitting candidates were also dropped,” the minister said.

About the decision to drop Dutta, district CPM leader Sujon Chakraborty said this time the sabhadhipati’s post has been reserved for a Scheduled Caste candidate. “So, how can the outgoing sabhadhipati be asked to contest for any other seat'” Chakraborty asked.

A senior party leader, however, said this was nothing but an excuse. “She could easily be accommodated in any position to utilise her experience which she had gathered in the past five years,” he said. He added that this time the Left Front may not do well in Sagar, Kulpi, Gosaba and adjoining areas in the district.

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