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30 Apr 2018

Trinamul win in BJP bastion

Manoj Tigga
TT, Alipurduar: Trinamul has won 19 gram panchayat seats and four panchayat samity seats uncontested in Madarihat Assembly constituency which is represented in the Assembly by the BJP.
Trinamul's clean sweep has been attributed to the reopening of five of six tea gardens in the Madarihat-Birpara block and alleged pressure tactics deployed by the ruling party to force a few BJP candidates to withdraw nominations on Saturday.
Another factor that contributed to Trinamul's victory was the setback suffered by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha in the area in the past one year. Many supporters had left the Morcha, a BJP ally, and joined Trinamul. A number of people are still with the Binay Tamang faction of the Morcha which supports Trinamul.
Manoj Tigga of the BJP won from Madarihat in 2016 after Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the region during the campaign and promised reopening of closed tea estates.
Tigga said on Sunday that Trinamul's intimidation and threats had kept the BJP out of fray in many seats.
"On April 23, we could not submit a single nomination as our prospective candidates could not enter the Madarihat BDO office. On Friday night, Trinamul activists kidnapped all our three panchayat samity candidates and five gram panchayat candidates. They withdrew the nominations on Saturday. A large number of people are attending our campaign meetings and other programmes and we will win most of the seats we contest if people can cast their votes freely," said the MLA.
Mohon Sharma, the president of Alipurduar district committee of Trinamul, said: "All allegations are false. The BJP could not find any candidate. In Alipurduar district, there was no violence during nomination submission or withdrawal. In the Madarihat-Birpara block, people have seen that we have reopened five closed tea gardens."
In Alipurduar district, Trinamul has won 45 gram panchayat seats and seven panchayat samity seats uncontested. There are 999 gram panchayat seats and 188 panchayat samity seats in the district.

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