The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Left fires leaflet missile at mayor
A poster being put up for a Congress candidate in Calcutta. Picture by Pradip Sanyal

Calcutta, June 8: The Left Front today issued a document highlighting corruption in the Calcutta Municipal Corporation and attacking mayor Subrata Mukherjee.

The leaflet is being viewed as a second manifesto ' the first was released last week ' in Left Front circles.

The three-page leaflet apprehends that the Trinamul Congress-BJP combine and the Congress-led United Democratic Alliance might join forces to capture the corporation, as early signs point to the possibility of a hung board.

'Though our rival fronts have fielded their candidates against each other, we have information that in many wards they are not campaigning against each other following an adjustment. Already in one ward, a candidate of one of our rivals has stopped campaigning for himself.... This is a clear indication of an unofficial adjustment,' Left Front chairman Biman Bose said this afternoon.

Addressing party workers in Salt Lake, state CPM secretary Anil Biswas admitted that the Trinamul and the Congress have 'considerable influence' on voters in some pockets of the Bidhannagar municipality. 'Though we are sure to retain the municipality, we are worried about the percentage of votes,' he said.

Bose cautioned Front nominees against getting complacent, thinking the Opposition is divided. 'We have had bitter experiences in the past.'

The leaflet recounts how the Trinamul had got a majority in 2000 by 'purchasing' Congress and Independent councillors. 'In the previous election, both the Left Front and Trinamul-BJP combine had obtained 61 seats each. But a desperate Trinamul leadership had blatantly purchased some Congress and Independent councillors to obtain the majority. For that, the combine had to sacrifice four posts of mayor-in-council to those purchased,' the leaflet says.

'We want to let people know about it'. Front leaders in all the 141 wards across the city have been asked to distribute the leaflets to each of the voters,' Bose said.

'Whatever be the permutation combination, we have to win more than 50 per cent seats in the CMC at any cost this time to keep the Trinamul-BJP combine at bay. We believe that only hard work will ensure our victory.'

The Front has refused to give any credit to Subrata for the flyovers dotting the city. 'Construction of flyovers is the state government's job and only a no-objection certificate is required from the CMC,' Biswas had said last week.

The leaflet hits out at the mayor for neglecting the city's 19 lakh slum-dwellers during his five-year regime. 'During the Front's 28-year rule, not a single registered slum was evicted. We don't like beautifying our city like Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore by evicting slum-dwellers. But Mukherjee has neglected their plight.

'While the previous Front-run board got only Rs 738 crore from the state government, the present Trinamul-board got Rs 1,598 crore.'

As the Left leaders fired on all cylinders, the Trinamul released its manifesto for the Bidhannagar municipality, promising better supply of filtered water, increased communication facilities and more security for Salt Lake residents.

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