STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE
Malda, 1 October
In a dramatic development, during the election of the permanent committees of Malda zilla parishad (MZP), the Congress won all nine committees with support from two rebel Left Front (LF) members who defied the verdict of boycotting the election.
The Trinamul Congress minister, Mr Krishnendu Choudhury, claimed that a ‘hidden deal between the Congress and the LF’ had again come to the fore today. The district LF Chairman Jiban Maitra conceded that it was a ‘huge shock’ for them that they could not keep the LF members intact.
Election for the nine permanent committees of MZP was held today in the MZP conference room. As 33 members were required to win those committees, the district LF having 26 members decided not to turn up in the election. Along with 38 MZP members, one MP, 10 MLAs and 15 panchayat samiti sabhapatis were to cast votes in the election. Trinamul MLA Krishnendu Choudhury and Sabitri Mitra and the Congress MP AH Khan Choudhury (Dalu) could not vote as they are ministers in the state and the Union government. The Congress won 33 votes while Trinamul won seven.
Ignoring the ruling of the LF, two LF members ~ Mr Milan Das of the Socialist Party (SP) and CPI ZP member Ms Kanchanbala Singha suddenly turned up in MZP to cast their votes. They supported the Congress candidates. With their support, the Congress defeated the Trinamul&’s panel by a margin of 33-7 votes.
Soon after Congress won all nine permanent committees, jubilant Dalu said: “The Trinamul challenged us that we would not be able to retain MZP. It has once again been proved that the Congress is the major political party in Malda. It is immaterial who supported us. Finally, we have won MZP comprehensively. Not only did we win 16 MZP seats but also have the highest number of voters in permanent committees. Hence we won permanent committees too.” The district LF Chairman, Mr Maitra, said: “We had no idea that two of our members would violate the directive of the LF. It is indeed a blow for us. We tried to keep in touch with them. But they back-stabbed us. The matter would be discussed in the next meeting of the district LF.” Mr Maitra informed that he had appraised the state LF chairman Mr Biman Bose about today&’s dismaying development.
The district CPI secretary, Mr Tarun Das, was also shell-shocked by the move of their only ZP member Ms Kanchanbala Singha. “She was repeatedly asked to abstain from voting today. I think she was misled by SP member Milan Das. We would take action against her and she may be expelled from the party,” Mr Das said. The district SP secretary and dissident ZP member Mr Milan Das defended his action. “I have not taken any wrong decision. It is clear to all that the district LF&’s decision to boycott the poll would help the Congress indirectly. We have only supported the Congress directly. We have done this so that we can get maximum benefit of development from the MZP for the common people,” Mr Das added. He claimed that his action was approved by the state party leadership.
The Tourism minister and TMC leader, Mr Krishnendu Choudhury, said: “We have been claiming that in Malda the Congress and the LF are two sides of one coin. That our claim had been true was proved today. Though we have only seven voters, we contested in the election. The LF is now a bankrupt force and we are the main Opposition in Malda.”