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Left manifesto promises devp in ‘developed’ Siliguri

The Left leadership has admitted to problems related to roads, drainage system, disposal of garbage, while it has promised that it would look into the issues seriously after coming to power. On the other hand, the Left claimed that it would manage approval for a safe drinking water project from authorities concerned and formulate a proper plan to keep the Mahananda river healthy by bringing in beautification plans on either side of the river and by building parks.

MANAS R BANNERJEE | Siliguri |

The Left Front today released its manifesto for the Siliguri Municipal Corporation elections and expressed confidence of retaining the civic body, which was under its control after the last polls held in 2015.

At a time when Trinamool Congress leader and mayoral candidate Gautam Deb has been appealing to people to elect his party candidates for the development of Siliguri under the leadership of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the Left, in its manifesto, has mentioned a “developed” Siliguri, and highlighted some burning issues here.

The Left leadership has admitted to problems related to roads, drainage system, disposal of garbage, while it has promised that it would look into the issues seriously after coming to power. On the other hand, the Left claimed that it would manage approval for a safe drinking water project from authorities concerned and formulate a proper plan to keep the Mahananda river healthy by bringing in beautification plans on either side of the river and by building parks.

Notably, during campaigning, Mr Deb has claimed that Rs 470 crore has been estimated to ready a safe drinking water supply project to supply 235 million litres of water to Siliguri residents per day. In order to resolve the perennial problem of traffic congestion in Siliguri, the Left has promised to set up a proper parking management system.

According to political observers, the TMC leadership is confident of people’s sentiment, which it says is in favour of the ruling party, as former mayor, Mr Bhattacharya had frequently showcased ‘non-cooperation’ of the state government in the SMC functioning in the past five years. “As a result, a section of the people does not want to listen to the story of non-cooperation of the state and the SMC that may be controlled by the Left or the BJP again,” a political observer said.

On the other hand, despite the non-cooperation issue, another section of the people in around 10 of the 47 wards in the SMC is said to prefer the saffron party in the SMC elections to be held on 22 January. To beat TMC candidates, the Left, under the leadership of Asok Bhattacharya, has specifically showcased the TMC’s alleged “extortion, muscle power in alleged landgrabbing and syndicate raj in corporate style” in its manifesto and has ensured “rapid public service, no harassment in obtaining certificates, and formation of ward committees, involving people for the poor section to record their voices.

Besides an elaborate plan for ‘Covid-19 Combat’ in SMC area, the Left manifesto showcases education and employment generation plans in the SMC area. Under the programme of housing for poor people, the Left has promised 10,000 houses in the next five years. The Left has further stressed on programmes on health services under various schemes, including national health mission, social security of women and empowerment.

The manifesto mentions a plan to set up a gymnasium for women in almost every locality. On the other hand, centering the much awaited SMC polls, political observers as well as politically conscious people here are discussing three personalities–Asok Bhattacharya, Gautam Deb and Shakar Ghosh–and their leadership and experience in running the corporation. Mr Bhattacharya, Mr Deb and Mr Ghosh at the main faces of the Left, TMC and BJP, respectively, for the SMC polls. Interestingly, BJP MLA from Siliguri Shankar Ghosh today spoke of his long 20 years of experience as a CPI-M backed youth leader at a time when CPIM strongman Asok Bhattacharya was the minister for urban development and municipal affairs for 20 years and ran the SMC as the mayor for last five years, and as the chairman of the Board of Administrators for the SMC in the last 10 months.

Notably, Mr Ghosh was a councillor, member of the mayor in council for education, sports and culture, and coordinator under the leadership of Mr Bhattacharya. On the other hand, TMC leader Gautam Deb was elected as the councillor four times, and has 10 years of experience as the minister for North Bengal development department and tourism. Mr Deb was also the chairman of the BoA for the SMC for seven months.