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One more CPM leader defects to Trinamul

Following Ujjwal Samaddar’s switch, the number of CPI-M members in the Naxalbari Gram Panchayat has gone down to 11 from the earlier 12, while the figure for the Trinamul has gone up to 14 from 13 in the 26-seat panchayat.

Statesman News Service | Siliguri |

Exodus from the CPI-M continues as one more Naxalbari gram panchayat (GP) member joined Trinamul Congress on Tuesday. Four elected members of the party have already joined the ruling party in the past 15 days.

The CPI-M-run rural body in Naxalbari was reduced to a minority when Narayan Kheria, Rajib Oraon and Sandhya Sarkar Chettri joined the Trinamul on 1 May.

Following Ujjwal Samaddar’s switch on Tuesday, the number of CPI-M members in the GP has gone down to 11 from the earlier 12, while the figure for the Trinamul has gone up to 14 from 13 in the 26-seat panchayat. BJP has one member in the GP.

“The two-and-a-half-year deadline to introduce a no-trust motion ended on Tuesday. The party will bring in the motion at an appropriate time,” tourism minister Gautam Deb said on Tuesday. Mr Deb said the Trinamul Congress has wrested control of 14 of the 22 panchayats in the Siliguri Sub-division, and that the number would soon reach 18 and more panchayat samitis would be under the control of the ruling party.

Tuesday’s development also comes days after former CPIM MLA and a member of the Siliguri Mahakuma Parishad (SMP), Choton Kisku, joined the ruling party amidst allegations that the Trinamul had been offering huge sums of money and intimidating SMP board members.

Mr Samaddar said he switched over to the Trinamul Congress for development work being carried out by the state government. “We are in touch with many Left leaders and we realised that many of them did not support the present political stand of the CPI-M, as the party is not following its basic principles based on which it was formed. Asok Bhattacharya (Siliguri mayor and MLA) just wants to retain posts. There is no question of CPI-M leaders joining our party for money. They are joining to oppose their party line and are inspired by the development work of chief minister Mamata Banerjee,” Mr Deb added.

Reacting to this, Mr Bhattacharya said the Trinamul Congress had no right to speak about principles. “They are intimidating Left activists, luring them and trying to capture elected bodies run by the opposition parties by adopting unethical means. They have made elections a farce. This is Trinamul Congress which brought the BJP in the state and is encouraging politics of division,” he said.