The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Ministers in Dooars to stem RSP rot

Alipurduar, Aug. 4: Mass erosion from the RSP ranks in the Kalchini area has prompted the party’s central committee member and state PWD minister Kshiti Goswami to camp in town for the past few days to carry out a damage control.

Kalchini is among the 11 Assembly seats in the state that will go to bypoll later this year after it was left vacant when the RSP’s sitting MLA won the Alipurduar Lok Sabha seat. Tirkey’s selection as the Lok Sabha candidate, bypassing the four-time sitting MP Joachim Buxla had sparked off widespread protests among the party cadre and workers.

Goswami’s visit coincides with Buxla’s wife Malati Buxla, along with three RSP Kalchini panchayat samiti members joining the Trinamul Congress last week. Buxla had contested the Lok Sabha polls as an Independent and had lost. However, soon after that Buxla joined Trinamul.

Since Sunday, Goswami, along with RSP minister Biswanath Chowdhury have been holding discussions with party workers. They spoke to grass roots workers as well as local and zonal committee members in Kalchini.

“I have told them to inquire sincerely as to why the situation came to this. If the panchayat samiti members in Kalchini have left the party, there must be some problem,” Goswami said here today.

He also voiced concern about the growing presence of the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad and the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha in the Dooars. “The Kalchini bypolls will be tough this time with the Morcha and the Parishad around. They could cut into our votes.”

Buxla said the RSP had lost its credibility among the party workers because of a lack of transparency. “Soon after I left the party about 300 workers joined Trinamul.”

One of the panchayat samiti members who left the RSP said that last week Malati Buxla’s nameplate as the Opposition leader in the rural body had been replaced with that of Philip Khalko. “Once again the party did this without informing us and that is why we left the party in protest and joined Trinamul,” she said.

The Kalchini panchayat samiti is run by a Congress-led board. With the four defections from the RSP, the Left Front has 11 members while the rivals have 20.

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