10 parishads free of Opposition
Calcutta: Trinamool will rule 10 out of 20 zilla parishads in Bengal without a single Opposition representative amid questions on whether such hegemony of the ruling party at the highest tier of the panchayat system is good for democracy.
The results of the rural polls held on May 14 revealed that Trinamool had bagged all seats of the zilla parishads in Jalpaiguri, South Dinajpur, East and West Burdwans, North and South 24 Parganas, Bankura, Hooghly, East and West Midnapores.
"I can't recall any instance where a zilla parishad was free of Opposition. This is bad for democracy as absence of Opposition representatives would result in loss of checks and balances in the zilla parishads, which act like local governments," said political scientist Biswanath Chakraborty.
He has explained that as per panchayat rules, Opposition members are an integral part of various standing committees in the zilla parishads. Such panels, which play an advisory role to the zilla parishads, get a democratic shape with the inclusion of the Opposition members, said Chakraborty.
A panchayat department official explained the consequence of a zilla parishad without Opposition.
"There are several standing committees, including those on food, health, education and PWD. Views or comments by Opposition members on the committees are considered to be valuable as they reflect the stand of their parties on the issues concerned," said a panchayat department official.