Gorkhatimes

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Left loses third tier to rivals – Cong-Trinamul wins 13 of 22 Gram Panchayats

Posted by Ramesh Khati on July 3, 2009

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Congress supporters celebrate their victory at Naxalbari, around 30km from Siliguri, on Thursday.

Siliguri, July 2: After breaking the CPM stranglehold on the Siliguri Mahakuma Parishad, the Congress and the Trinamul Congress made inroads into the third tier, bagging five more gram panchayats than the Left Front.

Of the 22 gram panchayats under the SMP, the Left Front, which was in power in 17, has retained only eight. The Opposition this time has grabbed 14 of them. The Congress- Trinamul Congress alliance has won in 13 panchayats, when earlier they held only five. The Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad has bagged one.

Among the four panchayat samitis of Matigara, Naxalbari, Kharibari and Phansidewa, the Left Front was in power in three samitis save Kharibari, which the Congress had bagged a year ago when a Forward Bloc member changed loyalty. This time, the Congress has won Naxalbari and Phansidewa.

“We have more than doubled the number of our gram panchayat seats and we look forward to forming and running most of them with the Congress,” said Gautam Deb, the Darjeeling district Trinamul Congress president.

The Adivasi Parishad, which has won the Hatighisa panchayat in the Terai, had backed Independents in four seats of the panchayat samitis in Phansidewa and Naxalbari. Both the samitis have slipped out of the hands of the Left Front.

CPM leaders, however, are not yet ready to admit that all’s not well. “We have won by going it alone in eight gram panchayats while the Congress had to forge an alliance with the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha and the Adivasi Parishad,” said Jibesh Sarkar, a state committee leader of the party. “But it is an unexpected result and we will definitely sit down to analyse it.”

Shankar Malakar, the Darjeeling district Congress president, sounded pleased. “We have got not only three seats in the SMP but the two panchayat samitis also. The CPM has lost a large number of seats in all these four samitis and people throughout the subdivision have voted in our favour.”

In Matigara panchayat samiti, the Left Front got eight of the 14 seats while the Congress bagged six. In Kharibari, the Left won six against the Congress’s five of the 11 seats. At Naxalbari, where there are 18 seats, the Congress got nine, Trinamul Congress three, Left Front three and Adivasi Parishad-backed Independents three.

In Phansidewa, the Congress bagged 12 of the 21 seats, the CPM got eight and the Adivasi Parishad-backed Independent won one seat.

Source: The Telegraph

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