Torn by infighting the ruling Trinamool Congress has not been able to field candidates in 32 out of 140 gram panchayats in Nandigram block I and 13 out of 91 in Nandigram block II for the West Bengal panchayat polls scheduled for July.
And the scene is no different in Singur.
In 2011, when the TMC assumed power ending 34 years of Left rule, it owed a lot of its success to the agitations over land acquisition in Singur and Nandigram in 2006 and 2007 respectively.
Today, in both blocks of Nandigram, TMC’s biggest hurdles are independent candidates backed by their own factions. These candidates have filed nominations in 56 seats in block I and 51 seats in block II.
The Left Front, which was swept out from Nandigram lock, stock, and barrel in 2008, has managed to file nominations in 10 seats in block I and 40 seats in block II.
“All these independent candidates are backed by either of the two Trinamool factions. One is led by Abu Taher and the other by Sheikh Sufian, both key faces of Nandigram’s anti-acquisition movement,” a district TMC leader told HT.
Party sources said mostly Taher’s followers have got TMC tickets, forcing Sufian’s followers to contest as independents.
“Some of our party workers have filed nominations as independent candidates. We have requested them to refrain from doing so. Those who don’t follow party instructions will have to face action”, said Mamud Hossain, a general secretary of TMC in east Midnapore district.
In Singur, TMC ministers Becharam Manna and Rabindranath Bhattacharya openly bickered about giving a zilla parishad ticket to Manik Das.
Party workers alleged that Das had collected money from locals on the pretext of ensuring jobs in the railways. Though Das — one of the key anti-acquisition leaders — managed to get a ticket despite Manna’s opposition, there is hardly any campaign or graffiti in his favour.
Other than them, at least seven TMC activists have filed nominations as independent candidates.