The Telegraph
Saturday , May 20 , 2017

Trinamul eyes Siliguri

Siliguri, May 19: The Trinamul Congress has set its sights on Siliguri now that the party has forayed into the Darjeeling hills by capturing Mirik municipality.

Trinamul insiders here today said it was time for them to try and secure the rural and civic bodies of Siliguri subdivision and "complete the circle".

"From Malda to Cooch Behar, we are in power at every civic and rural body, except three in the hills and those in the plains of Darjeeling district and the new Kalimpong district. We will continue to focus on the hills, keeping in mind that the GTA elections are likely to be held this year. But simultaneously, our focus will be on Siliguri, both in rural and urban areas, where we are still behind the Left," a Trinamul leader said.

As of today, Trinamul has less representation in Darjeeling district, from Lok Sabha seat to panchayat wards. Unlike districts like Cooch Behar where the party has several MLAs, an MP and control six municipalities and the zilla parishad, Darjeeling is the only district that does not have even an MLA.

"We have majority in most of the 22 panchayats of Siliguri subdivision and two of the four panchayat samitis. Because of panchayat rules, we cannot table no-confidence motions at these panchayats and need to wait for the boards to complete two-and-a-half years," the leader said.

After the hill polls, a question has cropped up among Trinamul leaders as to why the party could not play "defection politics" in the plains in a successful manner.

"If prominent leaders of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha can be inducted into Trinamul, there is no reason why leaders and elected representatives of other parties will not join our party. We believe there is lack of consistency in efforts of some of our leaders to persuade such people while highlighting the development works carried out by the state," a state leader said.

That is why, insiders said, Trinamul again wants to try it and would take up a series of political activities to mount pressure on the Left-run boards at the SMP and the SMC.

"During such programmes, there are plans to bring in ministers and leaders from adjoining districts so that they can work in specific areas, like they did during the civic polls in the hills," a leader said.

Asok Bhattacharya, the Siliguri mayor said: "They might make their efforts but cannot prevent us from finishing our complete tenure. Trinamul should wait till 2020."

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