Asok hopes for SMC victory
Mayor Asok Bhattacharya said on Sunday that he could run the Siliguri Municipal Corporation properly despite the non-cooperation by the Mamata Banerjee government and hoped that the Left Front would retain power at the SMC in the coming elections.
But Trinamul Congress leader and minister Gautam Deb said his party would come to power at the SMC, the only civic body held by the Left Front in Bengal.
“Despite the non-cooperation of the state and paucity of funds, we have managed to run the board for nearly five years. Around three months are left for the board’s tenure to end and we hope the elections will be held on time. I would like to make it clear that we will be back in the board. Trinamul can contest but it will have to sit on opposition benches again,” the mayor said.
Bhattacharya also said he had come to know that civic polls were likely to be held in April or May.
“I had been to the state municipal affairs department (office) last week and what I learnt is that the state is planning to conduct elections in as many as 111 civic bodies together in three-four months. They include Siliguri and we are ready to face the polls. The state should also conduct polls to 19 civic bodies where administrators have been deputed for several months,” said the CPM leader who run the SMC with the support of the Congress.
Deb, however, sought to pooh-pooh the mayor’s statement. “He (Bhattacharya) is a veteran leader. I wish him good health and long life. He can try again to win the civic polls by joining hands with the Congress and the BJP. We will, however, make all efforts to secure majority at the SMC,” Deb told a meeting of the Trinamul Mahila Congress here on Sunday.
He urged women workers of the party to launch a door-to-door campaign in all 47 wards of the SMC.
Chandrima Bhattacharya, minister and state president of Trinamul’s women wing, said: “All members will have to work hard to dislodge the Left from the SMC.”