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18 May 2017

Top hill Trinamul leaders taste defeat

Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling, May 17: All top leaders of the Trinamul Congress in the hills lost from the wards they had contested, hinting that they are yet to be connected with grassroots people.
Much to everyone surprise, Trinamul had fielded almost all of its top hill leaders in municipal elections.
N.B. Khawash, the working president of Trinamul, and a former three-time Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council councillor, contested in ward 20 of Darjeeling municipality. He lost to a social worker Mani Pradhan who had contested on the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha ticket.
Sharda Rai Subba, the president of the Trinamul (hill) Mahila Congress who was also the party's candidate in the last Assembly election in Darjeeling, was defeated in ward 32.
Milan Dukpa, the nominated GTA Sabha member, lost from ward 13 in Darjeeling.
The story was the same in Kurseong.
Shanta Chhetri, the three-time Kurseong MLA, a former municipality councillor and a Trinamul candidate for the last Assembly election, lost from ward 7.
In Kalimpong, Dhendup Bhutia, the Trinamul town committee president and a former vice-chairman of Kalimpong civic body, lost from ward 3.
A senior Trinamul leader admitted that the party was lacking a strong face.
Told about the loss of all heavyweights in the hills, he said: "Well, to be honest, in Trinamul, the only heavyweight is Mamata Banerjee. It is true that we need leaders around whom all other leaders revolve even at the local level."
Rajen Mukhia, the president of TMC (hill), said: "Our leaders tried their best to convey our party's message to the workers. Maybe, the message did not filter down well. However, we will soon have an introspection meeting to see what went wrong."
Khawash, however, said: "In polls, you lose at times and win sometimes. However, our vote bank has increased significantly. We have also managed to form the board in Mirik. Things are moving in the right direction."
Shanta Chhetri echoed Khawash. "In some wards in Kurseong, we lost by a whisker. Local sentiments at the micro-ward level also came into play. Nevertheless, I am happy with the overall result."
Chhetri was referring to some results like those in ward 19 of Kurseong municipality where the Morcha won by only seven votes. In ward 16, too, the Morcha won by nine votes.

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