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21 May 2018

KLO asks BJP victors not to defect

ANIRBAN CHOUDHURY, TT, May 21, 2018, Alipurduar: A group of former militants of the Kamtapur Liberation Organisation has asked the BJP winners in Kumargram block not to defect to Trinamul after allegations emerged that they were facing enticements and intimidations to join the ruling party.

The BJP won 59 panchayat seats, 17 panchayat samiti seats and one of three zilla parishad seats in the block which was once the hotbed of the KLO.
The BJP's stellar performance has been attributed mainly to the discontentment of voters with the Mamata Banerjee government's lack of response to the demands and needs of surrendered KLO militants.
Another reason cited for the BJP victory was various development initiatives taken up by the party's government in neighbouring Assam.
On Saturday, the BJP held a meeting in Kumargram, where all its winners and many former KLO militants were present.
"There were more than 400 BJP supporters at the meeting. I spoke at the meeting and made it clear to the candidates who won the polls that people had voted them with huge hopes. We told them that they should not succumb to pressure and defect to Trinamul or any other party under any circumstance," said Milton Burma alias Mihir Das, who was a top leader of the militant outfit.
His brother and former KLO member Timir Das was elected as a panchayat member on a BJP ticket.
Mihir Das told the BJP winners that in case they faced major problems from any other party, the former militants would take initiatives to launch a movement to stop intimidations and enticements.
"The candidates have no right to deceive the voters by defecting to some other party for personal interests," added Das.
The BJP had claimed that its candidates who won the elections were facing pressure from Trinamul across the Alipurduar district.
"Trinamul leaders and workers are consistently threatening our candidates, particularly in Falakata and Kumargram blocks, as they want to grab the Kumargram panchayat samiti and gram panchayats which we have won. In some cases, our candidates are even getting cash offers," said Ganga Prasad Sharma, the Alipurduar district BJP president.
Trinamul leaders, however, brushed aside the allegations.
"The results of the rural poll show that majority of the people are with us. We have never exerted pressure on elected candidates of any other party. As far as Kumargram is concerned, we are collecting information to find out what led to such results in the block," said district Trinamul president Mohan Sharma.

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