The Trinamul Congress leadership in Siliguri has stressed on reaching out to people at the booth level and highlight “failures” of the Left-run Siliguri Municipal Corporation (SMC) board and the “false claims” made by Siliguri Mayor Asok Bhattacharya.
Party leaders have asked party workers to jump into the preparations for the upcoming civic body elections. On the other hand, party workers have demanded that the party contest the polls with a mayoral face. State PWD minister and Darjeeling district party observer, Aroop Biswas, and tourism minister and chairman of the party’s North Bengal Core Committee Gautam Deb, today addressed a workers’ meeting on poll preparations in Siliguri today.
Mr Biswas pulled up some party men and leaders for not maintaining coordination and for internal fights. The party leaders took note of suggestions from the workers. Mr Biswas expressed concern over the organisational weaknesses at the grassroots level. “It is a matter of concern that we are lacking in terms of organisational skills and strength at the lower tier of the party, unlike the CPI-M and the BJP. We need to focus on that area seriously,” Mr Biswas said.
“The Left-run civic board has failed to perform in the last five years and the mayor has been spreading canard. The board has failed to implement the drinking water project, sewerage system, sold waste management and many others, but we have also failed to highlight this side. We have to reach out to the booths and make people aware,” sources quoted Mr Biswas as telling the meeting.
The Left Front had defeated the Trinamul in the last civic body polls in Siliguri in 2015. In the meeting, many party workers suggested that the party project a credible mayoral face while contesting the polls. Party leaders later said that the issue was significant, as, according to them, one of the major reasons for the defeat of the Trinamul in the last SMC polls was its lack of a mayoral face. “The inner squabbling always remains a great concern in our party. Apart from that, in the last elections in 2015, we had fought without a face for the post of the mayor. Gautam Deb had launched campaigns in Ward15, but he did not contest with instructions from the party and it cost us dear. Today, some party workers said the party should first project a mayoral face before the elections as it will have no impact if the name is announced postelections,” a senior party leader said, requesting anonymity.
The Left-Congress alliance has already said that Mr Bhattacharya would be the mayoral candidate. CPI-M Politburo member Md Salim, who was in Siliguri today, expressed confidence that the Left Front would retain the board.
Later, when asked who would be the mayoral face of the party, Mr Biswas said that party chief Mamata Banerjee would take the call. “We are very positive and hopeful that Trinamul Congress will win the elections. We have asked party men to highlight the development work of the state government led by chief minister Mamata Banerjee, and the failure of the present civic board,” he told reporters after the meeting