DIAMOND HARBOUR, 13 JUNE: Almost all political parties in South 24-Parganas are in trouble this time in getting sponsorship for funding of expenses in the rural polls.
In the 2008 panchayat election, the chit fund companies allegedly donated a large amount of money to the leading parties for poll expenses. The allegation is that the branch managers of the chit funds were ordered to bear the parties’ campaign costs in the 2011 Assembly elections too. But the chit fund business came a cropper in the state after the Saradha meltdown.
There are no sponsors in the district to donate large sums of money for the ensuing panchayat election. In the last Assembly election, the parties had not hesitated to meet expenses not only for their candidates and workers but for the voters also. But this time, with no doles from the chit fund companies it is hard times for the parties.
Mr Dipak Halder, the sitting MLA of Diamond Harbour and the district youth Trinamul Congress president, admitted that this time around they have to spend carefully because of the absence of sponsors.
Mr Alok Sardar, the CPM zonal secretary of Bishnupur, said they won’t go in for costly flexes and festoons this time during campaign. The ordinary flags would be used instead. When asked about the help from chit fund owners, Mr Sardar said they had helped before but "we want to avoid unnecessary trouble now."
Incidentally, the Bishnupur police had interrogated Mr Sardar and Mr Ananda Biswas, a former CPI-M legislator of Bishnupur, recently while Sudipto Sen, the CMD of Saradha chit fund, said that he had donated to Bishnupur CPI-M and leaders like Mr Sardar and Mr Biswas helped him to buy land in the area.