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regular-article-logo Monday, 15 July 2024

Firhad Hakim finds campaign flaws: TMC takeaways from poll debacle in north Bengal

'There was some lacuna in election management and it led to the party’s debacle at the Lok Sabha elections in most seats of north Bengal, including Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling. We need to reach out to the grassroots to highlight development jobs carried out by the state government,' the minister said

Bireswar Banerjee Siliguri Published 13.06.24, 09:19 AM
Firhad Hakim (second from left) and Gautam Deb (left) at the meeting in Siliguri on Wednesday.

Firhad Hakim (second from left) and Gautam Deb (left) at the meeting in Siliguri on Wednesday. Picture by Passang Yolmo

State minister and senior Trinamool leader Firhad Hakim said that the absence of suitable election management and organisational skills as well as a feeble campaign to underline Trinamool’s slew of development works led to the party’s poor show in Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling Lok Sabha seats, and especially in the civic areas of Siliguri and Jalpaiguri.

Hakim, here on a two-day visit, met with civic representatives of the party of both towns on Tuesday evening. District TMC leaders were also present at the meeting.

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“There was some lacuna in election management and it led to the party’s debacle at the Lok Sabha elections in most seats of north Bengal, including Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling. We need to reach out to the grassroots to highlight development jobs carried out by the state government and the chief minister’s relentless efforts to help people across the state,” Hakim told journalists after the meeting.

He said that instead of reshuffling office bearers of the party, it was more important to strengthen the organisation so that the TMC didn’t face such defeats in future.

At the Lok Sabha elections this year, Mamata Banerjee’s party managed to increase
its score from 22 to 29. The BJP, on the other hand, was reduced to 12 from 18 seats. The Congress, which had won two seats in 2019, could win only one (Maldaha Dakshin) seat.

However, in north Bengal, TMC couldn’t do much other than bagging the Cooch Behar seat. The BJP secured six seats.

“Such a contrast in results between north and south has prompted the TMC leadership to try and find out what went wrong in north Bengal. Leaders of the party and elected representatives of municipalities are under the scanner as the TMC is in power at the civic bodies,” said a political observer.

Sources in TMC said that during his visit, Hakim insisted that the civic councillors of TMC should ensure peoples’ participation in any work do at the municipal wards. He stressed the need for workshops for the orientation of party representatives in the region so that they have an extensive idea about the array of development and social welfare schemes of the Mamata Banerjee government.

As results of the Lok Sabha elections were announced, it was found that the TMC, with a majority both in the Siliguri Municipal Corporation (SMC) and the Jalpaiguri municipality, managed to get a lead over the BJP only in one of the 47 wards of the SMC.

“BJP got a lead of over 66,000 votes from Siliguri civic area. In Jalpaiguri municipal area, the TMC lagged behind the BJP in all 25 wards. Similar is the scene in most other civic areas of north Bengal from where the BJP has won. That is why state leaders are keen in identifying the lapses,” the observer added.

Hakim, the state minister for municipal affairs and urban development department, said on Wednesday that the councillors had an important role in drumming up support for Trinamool.

“Ever since the TMC has come to power in the state, Siliguri has improved a lot. The councillors of municipal wards should be more proactive to draw support from people,” he said at the SMC in the presence of mayor Gautam Deb and other councillors.

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