statesman news service
SILIGURI, 18 JUNE: With tension having gripped Cooch Behar in the run-up to the rural polls and the Opposition hurling charges against the ruling party for having forced their candidates to withdraw from the fray, the Trinamul Congress&’s district leadership has found itself in a strange situation with a few hundred “rebel” candidates who had filed nominations remaining in the fray.
The party is finding it hard to persuade such candidates to withdraw through distribution of leaflets. 
According to party sources, several candidates have remained in the fray even at the zila parishad level and in case they refuse to budge they would eat into the votes of the party, the party leadership apprehends.
It is learnt that in Cooch Behar, two to three candidates had filed nomination papers as the ruling party candidates for a single seat in the three-tier panchayat elections.
It is also learnt that the district president Mr Rabindranath Ghosh had tried hard to have nomination papers withdrawn in favour of the official candidates. But all efforts to persuade them have failed.
With no other option left, Mr Ghosh finally appealed to such candidates to circulate handbills signaling their withdrawal from their respective areas.
Today, Mr Ghosh personally monitored the withdrawal process at Tufanganj-I and Tufanganj-II blocks.
Mr Ghosh said: “Many of our party activists, who had filed nomination papers in the three-tier rural polls on their own could not have withdrawn nominations due to shortage of time.”
“We have asked them to circulate handbills with a declaration that they are not contesting against the party&’s official candidates,” he said.
“We are in no position to allot symbols to more than one for a single seat,” Mr Ghosh added.
Interestingly, the state election commission had extended the last date of filing nominations by a day for these two particular blocks in the district as the Left Front had complained to them that many of their candidates had failed to file nominations because of the alleged ruling party threat.