All 71 office bearers of the Trinamul's minority cell in Malda district resigned from their posts on Wednesday, alleging “undeserving and corrupt” persons were nominated for the rural polls in exchange for cash.
They said they were still in the party but would not campaign for it ahead of the July 8 polls.
Mosharaf Hossain, the district president of Trinamul’s minority cell in Malda, Md Nazrul Islam, district chairman, Anharul Haque, district vice-president, and other leaders announced this decision in the afternoon, barely four hours after district party chief Abdur Rahim Boxi announced the names of candidates for the rural polls.
“We have worked hard for the party for years and this time we wanted to field only two candidates in the zilla parishad from the minority cell. But even this request of ours was ignored. That is why we have quit our posts and will not participate in any poll campaign,” said Haque.
He said that across the district, a number of local leaders and party workers have alleged that tickets are being provided to certain persons against money.
“We have heard that to get a nomination in any of the three tiers, a person has to pay money, which can range between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 12 lakh,” he added.
Hossain, who was in the president’s post, said the Trinamul leadership had disregarded their contribution in keeping the AIMIM away from Malda, a district with around 52 per cent minority population.
“Ahead of the Assembly elections of 2021, we had put in our best efforts to prevent the AIMIM from building a support base in Malda. Without our hard work, Trinamul couldn’t have won eight (of the 12) Assembly seats here. However, close associates and relatives of some party leaders and MLAs are being chosen as candidates, instead of deserving party workers,” Hossain said.
The disgruntled leaders also questioned the internal voting process to pick names during the recent statewide outreach of Trinamul national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee. “We suspect it was mere eyewash. Those who banked on it were deceived,” said Haque.
Boxi, the district Trinamul chief, denied the charges.
“The allegations are baseless. Their decision will not affect the party. People across Malda are well aware of what Mamata Banerjee has done for them,” he said.
Defections from Trinamul were reported from some north Bengal districts on Wednesday, the penultimate day of filing nominations for the July 8 rural polls.
In North Dinajpur, Farhad Banu, the deputy chief of zilla parishad, and Javed Akhtar, her husband and a local Trinamul leader, switched to the Congress.
Imran Ali Ramz, a general secretary of the PCC, welcomed them.
“In Trinamul, people are getting tickets for cash. As we refused to pay, we were not on the list,” Akhtar alleged.
District Trinamul chief Kanaialal Agarwala denied the charge. “They got tickets earlier.... As they didn’t get tickets this time, they left,” he said.
In Alipurduar, Aruna Parwar, chief of Trinamul-run Kalchini panchayat samiti, filed her nomination on Wednesday as a CPM candidate. Pasang Lama, a former chief of Trinamul in the block, joined the Congress with some elected Trinamul representatives.