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18 May 2017

Cong loses last post

Kousik Sen and Avijit Sinha, TT, May 17: The Congress today lost its last known bastion in north Bengal, with the party's tally in Raiganj plunging to as low as two this time from 18 in the last civic polls. Although Congress leaders officially attributed the defeat to Trinamul's "reign of terror" on the voting day, sources in the Congress conceded that the party had been hit hard by defections. With the defeat in Raiganj, the Congress does not have in its kitty any of the 23 civic bodies in north Bengal. Trinamul leaders said Raiganj was a primary focus of Mamata Banerjee.
"Mamata Banerjee had been focusing on North Dinajpur for long. One should not forget that Deepa Das Munshi (a known Mamata baiter) hails from there. After the Assembly elections last year, Trinamul engineered a series of switchovers from the Congress. Although Trinamul managed to get on board the Congress civic chiefs and councillors of the remaining three municipalities in the district, Raiganj, under Mohit Sengupta, continued to elude us," a Trinamul leader said.
That Raiganj was a principal focus of the ruling party had become evident when the chief minister entrusted Subhendu Adhikari with the task of handling Trinamul's affairs in the district.
"Voters have suffered here as the civic services are in a shambles. People voted for us spontaneously," said Amal Acharya, the North Dinajpur district Trinamul president.
The political observers said Trinamul's strategy of engineering defections had also hit the Congress hard. At least five Congress councillors defected to Trinamul, all of whom were given tickets this time.
"The defections were a game changer for Trinamul. Mohit Sengupta, who has won so many polls, was so upset that he had decided not to fight the elections this time. Only after party workers insisted did he thought of giving it a last try. Unfortunately, he failed," an observer said.
Sengupta blamed "Trinamul rigging and terror" for the Congress's defeat. "That the voters suddenly inclined towards Trinamul is unbelievable," he said.

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