Left Front wins civic poll in Jhargram


Kolkata : West Bengal’s ruling Left Front (LF) Tuesday comfortably retained the Jhargram municipality, as the polls for four civic bodies in the state saw the voters opting for the status quo, notwithstanding the tribal agitation in West Midnapore.

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In Jhargram, the LF increased its number of seats in the poll that had generated keen interest across the state after tribals of Lalgarh potested vehemently against the alleged police atrocities in the aftermath of the Nov 2 landmine blast that targeted Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s convoy.

The LF retained its hold over Howrah Municipal Corporation (HMC) in the polls held Sunday. The Congress retained two other municipal boards – Murshidabad district’s Baharampur municipality and Nadia’s Krishnanagar municipality.

Keyed up over the Jhargram result, state LF chairman Biman Bose said: “I congratulate the people of Jhargram for electing the Left Front in the civic body poll there.”

He said all political parties opposed to the LF, including the Congress, Trinamool Congress, Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) and Jharkhandis, had formed an unofficial alliance to contest against the LF in the civic body poll.

“It’s absolutely misleading that some people are comparing this recent tribal agitation with the Santhal movement in the pre-independence era. I admit that tribals are lagging behind in today’s world but it’s also true that their lifestyle has undergone a sea-change during the LF regime in West Bengal,” he said.

“We’ve done a lot of things for developing the tribal communities in West Bengal. Now we don’t want to hear any advice from others who are just shedding crocodile tears for this backward tribal communities,” Bose added.

Trouble had erupted in West Midnapore’s Lalgarh and its adjoining region after the district police arrested some school students and allegedly heckled tribal women following the Nov 2 landmine blast.

The explosion ambushed the convoy of Chief Minister Bhattacharjee and central ministers Ram Vilas Paswan and Jitin Prasada near Bhadutala.

Protesting the police excesses, the tribals dug up roads and placed large tree trunks across, virtually cutting off the trouble-hit zone from the rest of the district.

Cashing in on the serious discontent among the backward tribal communities, the opposition parties in Jhargram carried out an intensive campaigning there before the civic body election.

“The result in the Jhargram municipal election has clearly shown that people have rejected all the separatist forces which are active in the region,” the LF chairman said.

Explaining why the state’s principal opposition Trinamool Congress could not score well in the civic body election, its chief Mamata Banerjee told reporters that she could not focus on poll campaigning because of the unprecedented terror attack in Mumbai.