Shocked-out in north and south Left stays, rivals make use of rift

Cooch Behar, May 21: The Left Front has held on to the zilla parishad in Cooch Behar, but the infighting among the allies has made way for the entry of the Congress and the Trinamul Congress.
In the last elections in 2003, none of the 26 seats in the zilla parishad was won by the Opposition. The CPM had bagged 18 and the Forward Bloc seven. The one remaining seat went to a CPM-backed Independent.
This time, however, the seat strength rose to 29. The CPM contested in 18 and the Bloc in nine. In the remaining two seats, both the allies fought each other. In both these seats, the CPM emerged victorious. The reversal was in a seat in Dinhata II block. In the 20 seats that it contested, the CPM emerged victorious in 19. The Bloc, on the other hand, won eight of the 11 it contested this year.
While the CPM could not improve its position, the Bloc share was up by a single seat.
In a major setback for the CPM in the district, the man projected to be the next sabhadhipati of the zilla parishad lost out to the Trinamul Congress. The keen contest took place in Seat 22 of Dinhata subdivision where Trinamul’s Shefali Barman won against the CPM’s zonal committee secretary, Tarapada Barman.
In Seat 21 of the same division, the sitting zilla parishad member of the Bloc, Deb Narayan Kalwar, was defeated by the Congress candidate.
The anti-CPM coalition, consisting of Opposition and Front allies that had raised its head against the CPM following the February 5 firing on Bloc supporters, is yet to make its presence felt. “These alliances were mainly in the other two tiers, the panchayat samiti and the gram panchayat, and their effects are bound to be felt only when the complete results emerge,” a senior Bloc leader said.
Two panchayat samities held by the CPM in the Tufanganj subdivision have already been wrested by an alliance, which comprises the Congress, Trinamul, BJP and the Bloc.
The counting for the panchayat samities commenced late in the evening. District Bloc secretary, Udayan Guha claimed that the results were as his party had projected.
“I had said earlier that despite a portrayal of Front unity at the zilla parishad level, the CPM had fielded Independents against us in six seats. But they failed to have any adverse impact on our performance,” said Guha.
The CPM’s district secretariat member, Benubadal Chakrabarty, while denying the allegations, said: “The Bloc made matters easy for the Opposition and saw to it that Tarapada Barman lost. Now tell me who the actual traitor within the Front is,” said Chakrabarty.
Counting disrupted
Police fired four rounds of tear gas shells to quell a crowd of Trinamul Congress supporters who had started throwing stones at the counting centre at the Falakata block development office this afternoon, reports our Alipurduar correspondent.
One police constable was injured after being hit by stones.
Counting was disrupted for around 45 minutes before it restarted around 6.15pm.
(The telegraph)

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