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20 Jan 2017

TMC turns focus on rural Siliguri

TT, Siliguri, Jan. 19: Darjeeling district Trinamul leaders today said they would focus on rural areas of the Siliguri subdivision and try to gain control of panchayats, instead of only striving to gain control over the Left-run Siliguri Municipal Corporation (SMC).
"We have been organising movements consistently and chalking other political strategies to oust the Left Front from power at the SMC. But from now, we will simultaneously focus on the rural areas of Siliguri. So far, we have managed to get only one Left councillor on board whereas in villages and blocks, we have most of the panchayats with us and also the majority in one panchayat samiti," a senior Trinamul leader said today.
Yesterday, Darjeeling district Trinamul president Gautam Deb announced the core committee, the district committee and the block committees of the party.
According to party insiders, the prospects of inducting into Trinamul elected representatives of other parties working in panchayats and panchayat samitis is much higher vis-à-vis the prospect of getting SMC councillors of other parties on board.
"Several elected representatives of other parties, including the Left, who are working in the two lower tiers have joined our party in all four blocks (of Phansidewa, Matigara, Naxalbari and Kharibari). However, for the past few months, there had been a lull in initiatives as all block committees of our party were dissolved," the leader said.
Deb, while announcing the names of block presidents - seven committees have been formed in four blocks - had said Trinamul was making fair progress in rural areas.
In the Siliguri Mahakuma Parishad, the Left is in power with six seats. Trinamul has the remaining three seats.
"For the rural areas, including the tea estates, we will soon form committees up to the booth level," the Trinamul district president said.
A Trinamul leader based in Naxalbari, who has been included in one of the block committees, said the party was also trying to explore the opportunity of increasing its base in the tea estates of Terai.
"Tea workers are facing a huge inconveniences because of demonetisation. They are aware that our party is organising protests against the move. As we have the block committees now, we would take up political programmes in tea estates," the leader said.

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