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23 May 2018

Car gift for Trinamul rebels' joy ride

Nisith Pramanik (left) hands over the keys of the car to Samsul Haque, one of the two youth wing leaders, in Cooch Behar on Monday. Picture by Main Uddin Chisti
MAIN UDDIN CHISTI, TT,  May 23, 2018 Cooch Behar: Two Youth Trinamul leaders in a Cooch Behar block have been gifted a car each by a district general secretary of the wing for stalling official candidates of the parent party and ensuring dissident-backed Independents raced to victories.

Nisith Pramanik, instrumental in fielding Independents against the party's candidates after spats over selections of nominees in the Dinhata 1 block, handed over Tata Tiagos' keys to Abinash Burman and Samsul Haque on Monday, describing the prizes as "a recognition of their efforts".

The hatchbacks cost between Rs 3.47 lakh and Rs 5.72 lakh. Burman and Haque are youth wing presidents of two panchayats in which the dissidents secured majorities.

Trinamul's performance in Cooch Behar was the best in north Bengal, unlike in other parts of the region where the BJP put up a fight, but the sparkling scorecard was blotched by the turmoil within the ruling party in Dinhata 1.

"Trinamul had to suffer due to the acute infighting between the parent party and youth wing leaders, particularly in Dinhata 1. The youth leaders had objected to the selection of candidates and fielded Independents. 

The disgruntled youths, who backed the Independents - particularly in the two lower tiers of panchayats and panchayat samitis - won most seats, trumping official Trinamul nominees.

The block has 16 panchayats, of which the youths or the Independents won uncontested in one. In the remaining 15, they secured majorities in at least four panchayats.

"In 11 other panchayats, there was a last-minute alliance with party leaders and many Independent candidates whom we had fielded were allotted the party symbol. After the results, it was found that in nine of these panchayats, more contestants of our (youth) lobby won, either as Independents or as a candidate of the party," said a youth Trinamul leader.

In the Dinhata 1 panchayat samiti, the youths won in 19 of the 41 seats.

Handing over the keys to the cars on Monday, Pramanik heaped praise on Burman and Haque. "Both put their best efforts during the elections and succeeded in getting results. They had worked for Independents in the lower tiers but for official Trinamul candidates in the zilla parishad seats. All our workers and supporters have together gifted the cars to them to recognise their efforts," Pramanik said.

Asked whether the gifts would stoke the dissidence, Pramanik said people had voted the "original" Trinamul candidates. "We have always remained committed to Mamata Banerjee and Abhishek Banerjee and will continue to work for the party," Pramanik added.

Abhishek is the youth wing chief.

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