Siliguri, May 18: Minister Aroop Biswas today blamed Harka Bahadur Chhetri for Trinamul's failure to strike an alliance with the Jan Andolan Party in the hills, which is believed to have cost both parties dear in the civic polls in Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Kurseong and Mirik.
"I had time and again spoken with Harka Bahadur Chhetri. Four rounds of talks were held on the prospect of an alliance. He had come to my office and promised to inform me about his decision. But eventually, he did not respond," said Biswas, who has been handling Trinamul's affairs in the hills.
"I feel that as he is one of the accused in the Madan Tamang (murder) case, he might have gone into some understanding with the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha," the minister added.
Told about Biswas's comments, Chhetri said: "I fail to understand how a matter that is sub-judice is related to our party not going for an alliance with Trinamul."
Political observers have said Trinamul might have missed the chance in forming the board in Kalimpong as data have shown that the Morcha won the civic body because of a division in the votes for rivals.
"The combined votes of the JAP and Trinamul are more than those of the Morcha, but the Morcha eventually formed the board... An alliance could have dealt a huge blow to Bimal Gurung's party," a Trinamul insider said.
Biswas's comments assume significance as a section of Trinamul leaders in the hills has been blaming him for the failure of the alliance to be sealed.
"If the total votes of all the four municipalities are put together, it shows that the Morcha has secured only 2,365 votes more than us, the JAP, GNLF and Independent candidates. This is not a major margin. There are around 10 wards where we have lost by a margin of 15 votes or less," Biswas said.