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‘By-polls leave’ CM tour cancelled

However, very reliable sources said that Miss Banerjee cancelled her tour here because of “some political problems because the Enforcement Directorate has asked Abhisekh Banerjee to appear before officials in Delhi.”

Manas R Bannerjee | Siliguri |

Apart from BJP and some other political parties like the CPI-M, a Trinamul leader in North Bengal has also apparently expressed unhappiness with the Election Commission’s decision to conduct by-elections for only three
out of at least seven seats in West Bengal.

Notably, several senior leaders of the Trinamul Congress expressed happiness over the Election Commission’s decision to conduct the bypolls, especially in the Bhowanipur Assembly Constituency, where Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is set to contest.

At a time when BJP leaders, including the party’s state president Dilip Ghosh and CPI-M leader Sujan Chakraborty, raised questions on the Commission’s decision to hold the by-polls only in three Assembly segments, both of them wondered why the elections were not conducted in other seats, even in North Bengal, at a time when Miss Banerjee cancelled her scheduled trip to north Bengal that she was supposed to tour from tomorrow to purportedly prepare for the elections.

However, very reliable sources said that Miss Banerjee cancelled her tour here because of “some political problems because the Enforcement Directorate has asked Abhisekh Banerjee to appear before officials in Delhi.”

Meanwhile, another BJP leader and party’s national spokesperson Raju Bista expressed his political feelings in a different manner. “In cancelling the north Bengal tour and instead deciding to stay back for by-election preparations, the honourable Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee has shown how insecure she is and exposes her lack of confidence,” said Mr Bista, also the Darjeeling MP.

As Miss Banerjee tasted defeat at the hands of the new leader of the Opposition Suvendu Adhikari, in Nandigram, TMC leaders and MPs staged a dharna in front of the Election Commission, demanding by-polls in vacant seats so that Miss Banerjee can be elected as an MLA (Member of Legislative Assembly), and continue her job as the CM from Bhowanipur, where an MLA elected on a TMC ticket, Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay, resigned in May to make way for her to contest the polls.

Significantly, common people in Siliguri today talked about the “actual reasons” behind the cancellation of Miss Banerjee’s trip to North Bengal, where she was scheduled to attend several administrative meetings.

On the other hand, a TMC leader, Udayan Guha, who was defeated by Cooch Behar MP Nisith Pramanik by a narrow margin in the Dinhata Assembly seat wrote in his Facebook wall, ‘A kamon paglami’ (What kind of madness is this) in Bengali. Mr Guho’s followers and several Facebook users commented on it by indicating to the Election Commission’s decision not to conduct by-polls in Dinhata and in connection with “politics that involved the BJP.”

Political observers, meanwhile, said they found a dual meaning in Mr Guho’s comment in relation to Miss Banerjee, who cancelled her North Bengal trip immediately after the Commission’s announcement. Notably, Mr Pramanik will
not work as an MLA as he has now been inducted in the PM Narendra Modi Cabinet as a Minister of State for Home Affairs.

Asked to comment, Mr Guho said over the phone today: “I will not furnish an explanation to my Facebook post that I have written. I also do not want to comment on the comments from the users.”

MP Raju Bista, on the other hand, said: “The Election Commission is an independent constitutional body and they are empowered to announce elections whenever they deem the situation is conducive for holding the elections.”

“However, in cancelling the North Bengal tour and instead of deciding to stay back for a by-election, honourable Chief Minister of West Bengal has shown how insecure she is and exposes her lack of confidence,” Mr Bista said,
adding, “It also exhibits how inconsequential North Bengal and the people here are for Mamata Ji. TMC treats North Bengal as a colonial outpost undeserving of her time and attention. It also shows the lack of respect TMC and Mamata Ji have even for her own supporters, who had been preparing for her visit for weeks now.”