The president of the Siliguri organizational district of the Trinamool Congress, Papiya Ghosh, today said her party would not consider any demand for change of candidates for the Siliguri Municipal Corporation (SMC) elections.
Ms Ghosh was referring to the resentment among party leaders and workers, which has come to the fore after the party released the candidates’ list on Thursday. Following the party stance, some party leaders, including Bikash Sarkar, Nikhil Sahani, Rina Das, Durga Singh and others are preparing to file nomination papers for the polls as Independent candidates, party sources said.
Unhappy with the party nominated candidates, a section of the people belonging to camps of some aspirants as well as Trinamul Congress leaders in the SMC area have been demanding that the party reconsider the list of candidates. In a meeting with party leaders at her residence on Thursday evening, party supremo Mamata Banerjee herself released the final candidates’ list for the SMC polls.
However, the next day, some party leaders and former councillors expressed unhappiness over some candidatures and their followers staged demonstrations in their respective wards, demanding that the party reconsider the list.
Asked to comment on the matter, Ms Ghosh today said: “There is no question of any change. It is party chief Mamata Banerjee’s instructions. Party leaders and workers will have to accept the list of candidates and work for them.” A party insider, meanwhile, said: “If we break the list after changing a single candidate, it would be very difficult to tackle a chain of reaction.”
It may be noted here that a section of TMC supporters have hit the streets in wards 5, 18, 24, 39 and others since yesterday and the agitation still continues. Angry party workers allegedly threatened to field their leaders as Independent candidates. Asked to comment, Nikhil Sahani said: “I have spoken to my leader Gautam Deb here. I will be waiting for the party’s decision. As locals of ward 18 have been agitating, I have decided to hold a convention tomorrow on this issue.”
“It is true that I have collected the forms today for filing nomination papers. I will contest the SMC polls either as a party candidate or as an Independent candidate,” Mr Sahani, the former councillor, told The Statesman. Mr Sahani, who is the party’s former coordinator and borough chairman, also said: “I was denied the ticket as I incurred the proposal of party leader and Jorashanko MLA Vivek Gupta.”
Similarly, Bikash Sarkar has also take out the forms for filing nomination papers from ward 24 against the party’s official candidate Pratul Chakraborty. TMC 39 ward president Swapan Kumar Das has already challenged the party’s block president in the SMC’s added areas, Dulal Datta, and has said that he, along with 250 party workers, will stay away from the party and field Rina Das, who contested the last term, as an Independent candidate. Mr Das said locals “do not know” the official candidate, Pinky Saha. “We may abide by the party’s instructions if Pinky Saha is replaced by anyone,” Mr Das added.
Today, several people belonging to Durga Singh’s camp in ward 5 decided to field Ms Singh as an Independent candidate after the party nominated Saroja Goenka there instead of her. Notably, Ms Singh, the former councillor belonging to the Left, joined the TMC as local party leaders assured her a ticket from ward 5.
Similarly, locals of ward 40 staged demonstrations today and met block president Mr Datta, demanding that the party nominate Satyajit Adhikari, alias Bhaijaan, who was elected in the last term from there. “I will take a final decision after holding a meeting with locals tomorrow,” Mr Adhikari said. Local people have also expressed their unhappiness with the party’s official candidate for ward 3, Munna Prasad.
A section of TMC wellwishers, through social media, claimed that the fate of the ruling party could be uncertain if the disgruntled party leaders contest the elections as Independent candidates.