Bengal ministers and Trinamul Congress leaders Aroop Biswas and Firhad Hakim on Tuesday campaigned for the party ahead of the polls to the Siliguri Municipal Corporation scheduled for February 12.
On behalf of the BJP, Opposition leader Suvendu Adhikari also campaigned in Siliguri on Tuesday. The 47-ward SMC is the largest civic body in north Bengal.
Biswas and Hakim extensively campaigned in Siliguri, along with Trinamul MLA Raj Chakraborty, and spoke at different events. They played the development card and said Trinamul should get at least one chance to serve the people of the city.
Hakim, the transport minister who was earlier in charge of the state municipal affairs and urban development department, raised questions over the previous Left Front board led by veteran CPM leader Asok Bhattacharya.
Suvendu Adhikari at a news conference in Siliguri on Tuesday. (Passang Yolmo)
“Asok Bhattacharya studies a lot about urban development but when it comes to implementation of projects, he could not execute them successfully. In Calcutta, he met me a number of times and I approved funds for Siliguri. But after returning here, he would blame the state government. This is undesirable and now that the Left has been virtually obliterated at the state and national levels, we don’t think they can do much if voted back to power in Siliguri,” said Hakim.
He also tossed questions at the BJP, the party that has an MP and MLAs in Darjeeling district, and asserted that Trinamul needed to win the Siliguri civic polls to send out a positive message to other states.
“Mamata Banerjee is fast emerging as the most popular anti-BJP face and we are proud of it. But if we cannot win the civic polls in Bengal, it would not send a good message to other states where people have started appreciating her struggle,” Hakim said.
Suvendu Adhikari and BJP MP Arjun Singh, who reached here on Tuesday, assured the Siliguri residents of “central funds”.
“The state government has become pauper and does not have funds for Siliguri’s development. People here have voted for the BJP and if they put us in power at the civic body, we will ensure that funds directly flow in from different central ministries for development of the city,” said Adhikari, while referring to the recent allocation of funds for the construction of highways and bridges in and around Siliguri.
Trinamul and the BJP have never come to power at the SMC.