The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Panchayat row

Malda, July 12: The Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP), a Left Front constituent, today said it would take to the streets against the CPM’s move to create rural oligarchies that may hold sway over elected panchayat bodies.

The decision to create a gram unnayan samiti in each panchayat has already triggered protest from two Front partners, the CPI and the Forward Bloc.

“We have been emphasising that the formation of any other committee in addition to the existing panchayats is harmful for democracy. We have repeatedly said in Left Front meetings that there is no need of any nominated committee when there is an elected panchayat for rural governance,” RSP state secretary Debabrata Bandopadhyay said.

“We are surprised that the CPM-led government has passed a bill in this regard, ignoring the opinions of other Front constituents,” he said. “Proposals were taken from Left partners before drafting the bill and we, on behalf of the RSP, had given some suggestions along with our observations to CPM state secretary Anil Biswas. He told me that our amendments would be included in the bill.”

Front leaders’ criticism of the move to form nominated bodies for controlling elected panchayats is being interpreted as the CPM’s attempt to induct their men in those bodies so that they control the panchayats. “The CPM will certainly wield more power on minor partners through the nominated bodies,” said a senior leader of the Left Front.

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