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24 Jan 2017

Factions grip TMC wings - Trinamul youth leaders vie for control of colleges

TT, Siliguri, Jan. 23: Trinamul leaders in some districts of north Bengal are confronting a new challenge that has been visible till now in the south of the state: wrangling among different lobbies of the organisation's youth and student wings, particularly ahead of campus polls.
"Unlike south Bengal where the Trinamul Chhatra Parishad's hegemony was established many years back, the ruling party's student front has started gaining control of colleges and universities in north Bengal only in the past two years. With the TMCP forming unions in most of the colleges in north Bengal, multiple lobbies have mushroomed in the outfit. There are leaders in the youth front who had worked with the TMCP earlier. They are not ready to relent and want to retain control of the colleges," a Trinamul leader in Jalpaiguri said.
As a result, attacks and counter-attacks, allegations and counter-allegations and even public protests against each other have become common in districts like Malda, Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar ahead and during the students' union polls.
In Malda district, there had been clashes between rival lobbies in colleges in Malda, Old Malda and Gajole and even Gourbanga University.
Similarly, in Jalpaiguri town, clashes broke out between groups led by the district Trinamul president and the district TMCP secretary for domination over students in three colleges.
Subhankar Mishra, a youth leader, was attacked by members of the rival lobby. He is still under treatment.
In Cooch Behar, there had been clashes and even a group of youth leaders led by Abhijit Dey Bhowmik had planned to move to the judiciary to stall the elections in ABN Seal College as they were apprehensive of losing control of the institution.
In Thakur Panchanan Mahila Mahavidyalaya - a girls' college in Cooch Behar town where elections were held for the first time this year - it is because of differences within Trinamul that the AIDSO (SUCI's student wing) has managed to secure win over the TMCP.
"In all the three colleges of Jalpaiguri, both the lobbies had fielded candidates. They were openly campaigning against each other in such a manner that we started feeling uncomfortable. The youth lobby had even resorted to protests, demanding members of the other faction headed by the district TMCP president be arrested for attacking Subhankar Mishra," a party leader from Jalpaiguri said.
Even Trinamul district president Sourav Chakraborty had to intervene and warn both the sides.
"Finally, a deal was reached and both the sides signed on a non-judicial stamp paper in the presence of district leaders. However, both the groups did not budge from their stance and went on campaigning for their respective candidates only," said the leader.
Sourav Chakraborty, the Jalpaiguri district Trinamul president, has warned action will be taken against factional leaders in the party.
"We are aware of the situation in Jalpaiguri and have made it clear to both the sides that they should abstain from working against each other. Otherwise, the party will take action because existence of factions would eventually affect the party," said Chakraborty.
Gautam Deb, state tourism minister and Darjeeling district Trinamul president, said: "Trinamul's youth and student leaders should work in an integrated manner. As our party is in power, TMCP leaders and workers should be more responsible. We don't want violence during or ahead of the students' union elections," Deb said.

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