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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 28 May 2024

Civic poll results: Blow to Adhikaris on Contai turf

The loss reflected the people’s perception about the Adhikaris as they have held chairmanship of the municipality for the past three decades combined

Anshuman Phadikar Contai Published 03.03.22, 02:30 AM
Suvendu Adhikari

Suvendu Adhikari Telegraph picture

Municipal polls turned out to be a major setback for Contai’s “first family” — the Adhikaris — as results showed an evident decline of their clout on a turf they had ruled for years.

The slide in political fortunes for the Adhikaris — represented by father Sisir and sons Suvendu, Dibyendu and Soumendu — has led to the political rise of a father-son duo from Trinamul — Akhil and Suprakash Giri — in Contai.

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Not only did the BJP lose all but three of 21 seats on Wednesday, but the BJP candidate in Suvendu’s ward 15 was defeated by Trinamul’s Tanushree Chakraborty by 228 votes.

The developments marked a stark change for the saffron party’s fate compared to the 2021 Assembly elections, when the BJP had bagged both Contai North and South seats.The loss on Wednesday reflected the people’s perception about the Adhikaris as they have held chairmanship of the municipality for the past three decades combined. Sisir was practically succeeded in this post first by son Suvendu, and subsequently younger son Soumendu had taken over. In the run up to the 2021 Assembly polls, the Adhikari family, most notably Suvendu, fell out with Trinamul and jumped ship to the BJP along with Soumendu.

“At a similar time, Sisir Adhikari was seen on stage at a Narendra Modi meeting in the run-up to the Assembly elections. But he was not seen in any of Trinamul’s election campaigns following the Assembly elections, when he was reportedly in home isolation," said a source.

On Wednesday, the BJP won three seats whereas an Independent won one. The Trinamul Congress won the remaining 17 seats.Sources said Suprakash Giri was likely to be picked for chairperson’s chair in Contai. He is the son of minister Akhil Giri.

Ramnagar MLA and minister Giri said: “The Adhikari family has been helming the Contai municipality for a long time. Their long stay did not help the people but they helped their relatives profit through corrupt means. The people of Contai have given this verdict against such practice.”

He felt chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s people-oriented projects helped the Trinamul win the confidence of the people. Sudam Pandit, president of the BJP’s Contai organising district, said: “The people of Contai are with Suvendu Adhikari. In the Assembly elections, the presence of central force had ensured fair vote. We won in South Contai and North Contai. The civic polls were a farce as Trinamul brought in outsiders and rigged people’s mandate.”

Apart from Suvendu, the civic poll turned out to be a disaster for Contai North BJP MLA Sumita Singh, who lost to Trinamul by 77 votes.

However, Contai South BJP MLA Arup Das won his seat by 178 votes.

“This time, the election for Contai municipality was not so much about the ruling party versus the BJP, but more about the Trinamul versus state Opposition leader Suvendu,” said a Trinamul worker.

“The result of the vote shows that Suvendu has lost the big picture battle. When he held a candle light procession in Contai on Tuesday alleging vote rigging, it was clear Suvendu had sensed defeat and took to the streets,” a Trinamul leader added.

Keen to retain control over Contai municipality, Suvendu had embarked on door-to-door campaigns in every ward in the run up to the polls. “But despite the use of force on polling day by the ruling party, the results showed that Suvendu da’s effort did not work,” said a BJP leader in Contai.

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