No saying which way the hung boards would go

Seventy two hours after the rural poll verdict, there seems to be no solution for the hung boards of the zilla parishads, panchayat samitis and gram panchayatsin West Bengal.

kolkata Updated: Aug 02, 2013 12:31 IST
Ravik Bhattacharya
Ravik Bhattacharya
Hindustan Times

Seventy two hours after the rural poll verdict, there seems to be no solution for the hung boards of the zilla parishads, panchayat samitis and gram panchayats.

While the Trinamool has adopted a wait-and-watch policy, the Left Front and the Congress are yet to take a decision.

The districts of Malda and North Dinajpur, that have given a hung verdict, have put the Congress in a dilemma as it feels an alliance with the Left in the zilla parishads would polarise anti-Left votes towards the Trinamool, a risky proposition with Lok Sabha polls round the corner.

Congress leaders in the two districts, however, do not favour a tie-up with the ruling party.

“We did not take any decision regarding the two districts as of now. We are going to convene a meeting shortly to discuss the matter. If required, we would seek advice from Delhi. We have asked for a detailed report from the districts regarding the situation at the grassroots level,” state Congress president Pradip Bhattachaya said.

Congress sources said the party is divided on the issue of supporting Trinamool in forming the boards in the two districts.

While one section prefers a tie-up with the Trinamool citing the poriborton experiment, another section, led by Murshidabad strongman Adhir Chowdhury, feels an alliance with the ruling party would only render the Congress toothless.

“We are traditionally antiLeft. In case of a tie-up, Mamata would campaign that we are the B-team of the Left. The Trinamool’s ploy of cornering us and depriving us a share of the anti-Left vote would gain success. Since we brought poriborton together, it is better to align with the Trinamool,” said a senior Congress MLA.

Congress sources said in the case of Lok Sabha and Assembly elections, the final decision on alliances is taken by the Congress high command in Delhi. But in the case of local elections, the decision is left to the state leadership, which in turn leaves it to the district leadership.

The decision to support the Left in forming the municipality board in Siliguri had come from local leaders.

“We made a mistake by aligning with the Trinamool. We had to sacrifice many seats in the 2009 Lok Sabha and 2011 Assembly elections in favour of the Trinamool. In most of those areas, our leaders switched over to the Trinamool and our organisation was practically wiped out. So its better not to go with an alliance with the Trinamool,” said a senior Congress leader close to Adhir Chowdhury.

Though the district leadership in Malda and North Dinajpur is dead against an alliance with the Trinamool, party leaders said a decision by the state leadership would be accepted by them. The Left maintains it would not have any problem aligning with the Congress, provided it takes the first approach.

Already cornered in the state, Left sources said the party would need the Congress to keep its existence alive in areas where it fared well in the panchayat elections, such as Jalpaiguri, North Dinajpur, Nadia and North and South 24-Parganas.

The Trinamool, though maintaining a wait-and-watch policy, has asked its district leadership to report about the numbers in the hung gram panchayats and panchayat samitis. The party is hopeful rebels would ultimately come around and support the ruling party to form boards where the results are divided.

In some areas, including Bolpur, Trinamool rebels who contested as independents are in a position to form the boards by themselves. Rebels have also performed well in many other seats, where they could turn out to be the deciding factor in forming the boards.

First Published: Aug 02, 2013 12:25 IST