Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will be arriving in Siliguri tomorrow, the day when the Siliguri Municipal Corporation (SMC) election results will be declared. As news of the CM’s tour to Siliguri and Cooch Behar spread, political observers here said that she will be receiving “good news in Siliguri” at least after 10 years if the SMC poll results go in favour of the Trinamool Congress.
Miss Banerjee is scheduled to arrive here by flight tomorrow and stay at Kanyashree on the premises of Uttarkanya and leave for Cooch Behar on 15 February. She is scheduled to return to Uttarkanya on 16 February after attending a programme near the Siddeshwari Mandir at Baneshwar in Cooch Behar, it is learnt. Records show that Dr Rudranath Bhattacharya was elected from Siliguri as an MLA on TMC ticket in 2011. Though the TMC is in power in the state since 2011, Miss Banerjee’s party failed to win the SMC elections, while the TMC also failed to retain the Siliguri Assembly seat in 2016, while a BJP candidate was elected from Siliguri in the 2021 Assembly elections.
It is said that a section of party leaders under the leadership of Gautam Deb, the former minister for North Bengal Development and tourism, have worked hard to bag a majority of seats of the SMC this time around. Though a group of political analysts here predicts that the TMC will finally have the last laugh in Siliguri, CPI-M strongman Asok Bhattacharya, after reviewing the post-poll scenario, has said that the Left would form an alliance with the Congress to form the SMC board.
Interestingly, West Bengal State Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury has also said: “If so, the Congress would extend full support to the Left.” Political observers here are expecting the Congress to bag at least three seats, and they say that the number would help the Left, if the BJP and the TMC fail to win a majority in the 47- seat SMC. BJP leader and Siliguri MLA Shankar Ghosh, who also contested the SMC polls from ward 24, today said: “We are 100 percent confident that the BJP would form the SMC board when chief minister Mamata Banerjee will be staying here.”
TMC’s mayoral candidate Gautam Deb, who contested from ward 33, has been claiming that his party would form the board. Politically interested Siliguri people are interested in the chief minister’s reaction to the SMC results, even if it goes against her party. Notably, a Rajbanshi Community leader, Ananta Maharaj, has organised the celebrations of the 512th birth anniversary of Chila Roy, who was the younger brother of King Naranarayan of the Cooch Behar royal family, near the Siddeshwari Mandir in that district on Tuesday.
According to sources, Ananta Maharaj has invited many personalities, from the prime minister to some chief ministers. “The West Bengal CM has responded to his invitation. Cooch Behar MP Nisith Pramanik, who is also the Union minister of state for home affairs, may share the dais with the West Bengal CM there,” a source said today.
Miss Banerjee is also scheduled to pay respects to the statue of another legendary Rajbanshi personality, Panchanan Barma, to mark his birth anniversary at Nauka Ghat in Siliguri tomorrow, while on her way to Uttarkanya. The state government has listed 14 February in its official calendar 2022 as a holiday to celebrate the birthday of Panchanan Barma, a reformer for social and economical development of the Rajbanshi community. Panchanan Barma was born on 13 February 1866 in Cooch Behar, records show.