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HindustanTimes Sat,19 Apr 2014

Congress and Trinamool join hands for airport elections

Arpit Basu , Hindustan Times  Kolkata, December 16, 2012
First Published: 12:27 IST(16/12/2012) | Last Updated: 12:30 IST(16/12/2012)

The Congress-Trinamool Congress mahajot still continues in Bengal. Despite the clumsy break-up between the Trinamool and Congress everywhere in the state and its noisy fallout, both parties have officially joined hands against the CITU-backed union in the polls to determine the official union for Airports Authority of India employees.

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The election is going to be held at Dum Dum airport on December 29, as part of the pan- India election. It is taking place after a gap of five years.

It was decided in a recent closed-door meeting on the airport premises that the Congress-backed Indian Airports Kamgar Workers’ Union and the Trinamool Congressbacked Airports Authority Staff and Workers’ Union will fight it out together against their rival CITU-backed Airports Authority Employees’ Union.

“We have decided to strike an alliance with Trinamool in the elections. The Trinamool-backed union was formed in 2009 and since then we have remained together. There was an unfortunate spilt at the central and at the state level between us in September. At the airport election we would demonstrate we are together,” Bapi Chakroborty, the regional secretary of Kamgar Union, told HT.

Insiders at the airport pointed out that Trinamool was more interested in joining hands with Congress because according to the rules, Trinamool could never win the polls.

The reason is the airport election follows the 'one industry one union policy', which means the party that wins majority of votes at all the 32 airports across the country will be the official union for all the airports.

“Even if Trinamool Congress wins majority at Kolkata airport they cannot be the official union as they do have a base across the country to pull off an overall victory,” said a senior airport official. Unlike in almost all spheres of state politics, where Trinamool always has had the upper hand, at the airport the Congress-backed union will be in the drivers’ seat.

The irony does not end here. The rule does not permit any alliance. So officially, Trinamool will only have to support Congress from outside, and if the Congress-backed union wins the election they will give a few portfolios to Trinamool leaders.

These Trinamool leaders will have to officially represent the union under the banner of the Congressbacked Kamgar Union.

“We are left with no other choice. Otherwise we would be completely wiped out from the airport,” said Pradip Sikdar, the general secretary of the Trinamool-backed Airports Authority Staff and Workers’ Union. Amidst all this drama the Citu leadership at the airport is not worried about the alliance.

“It is not so important whether our oppositions form an alliance, or fight it out separately. Both ways, we are going to win it,” said Dipankar Ghosh, regional chairman of CITU-backed Airports Authority Employees’ Union.

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