The Telegraph
Thursday , June 14 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Trinamul gets ready for Dooars entry
Party targets tea belt with eye on rural polls

Siliguri, June 13: The district Trinamul leaders in Jalpaiguri have been told to step up drive in the Dooars to draw more supporters into the party fold, targeting specially the disgruntled workers of other outfits.

Trinamul leaders have been told to hold micro-level meetings in tea gardens to convince workers to join the party’s trade union — a development that comes close on the heels of Trinamul’s first successful public meeting in the hills and its victory in the Dhupguri civic elections.

The chairman of the Trinamul core committee in north Bengal, Gautam Deb, said the party had information that members of other political parties were keen to join Trinamul.

The party has been buoyed by the fact that more than 1,500 disgruntled Gorkha Janmukti Morcha and GNLF supporters joined Trinamul two days ago in Panighata in the hills. The party has also ousted the Left Front from the Dhupguri municipality which had been in power for over a decade.

“We have specific feedback that people from different political parties and organisations are interested in joining Trinamul,” Deb said today. “Our party is keen on expanding its base in the Dooars as people are looking forward to Mamata Banerjee’s development plans. I met our Jalpaiguri leaders, including our tea trade union president Joachim Buxla, yesterday. They have been asked to hold micro-level meetings and bring in more people to Trinamul.”

Buxla said Trinamul had units in 40 gardens. “As people from different backgrounds, including supporters of the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad and Gorkha Janmukti Morcha approached us saying they would like to join, we thought of starting the process to induct them,” said Buxla, who is the president of the Trinamul Tea Plantation Workers’ Union. “Soon, we will hold public meetings to make them formally join our party.”

Deb said his party was scouting for new faces to lead the tribal community towards development. Although Trinamul has three MLAs including Deb in Jalpaiguri, they represent the non-Dooars part of the district. To win the panchayat polls, it is essential for the party to mobilise its support base in the Dooars. The area has more than 160 tea estates and the support base of any political party depends on the strength of its trade union. “Even today, Trinamul is fourth in terms of its trade union membership in the Dooars. The Left, Congress, Parishad and even the Morcha precede it,” said a Trinamul insider.

“Both the Morcha supporters and the tribals are frustrated. While the Morcha workers have realised that chances of including 199 mouzas from the Dooars in the GTA are almost nil, Parishad supporters are not happy with their organisation for having failed to meet their development aspirations. Both sides are allergic to the Left and also the Intuc. So, this is the right time for Trinamul to strike. After all, we are the ruling party and we can give them development,” the Trinamul leader said.

Deb said a campaign plan had been chalked out. “We will start with Naxalbari. I will personally visit every area, hold meetings, interact with people and appeal to them to stand by us. We have plans to spend nights in undeveloped areas to understand people’s problems and redress their grievances ahead of the panchayat polls,” he said.