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Rural Polls: Mixed mandate in tea belt

Alipurduar: Voting was peaceful in the Dooars tea belt and several workers along with their families turned up at the booths to exercise their franchise.
Observers said the brew belt would come up with a mixed mandate in the rural polls.
Also, there was a steady response of voters on the closed tea estates of Alipurduar and Jalpaiguri districts.
The observers said the mandate from the tea belt was likely to be a mixed one. "It is unlikely that one party will have a clean sweep over all seats in the tea belt. There are still unsolved issues like fixing of minimum wages and reopening of gardens which have been shut for over a decade or so," an observer said.
In Alipurduar, both the BJP and Trinamul are eyeing the tea belt which has 10 zilla parishad seats. The total number of seats is 18.
"Mandate of the tea population is very important for each political party. For the BJP, it is a challenge to retain its support base, while Trinamul wants to prove itself as the force to be reckoned within the area," the observer said.
Mohan Sharma, the chairman of the Trinamul Congress Cha Bagan Mazdoor Union, said: "Tea workers will be with us because we have reopened the closed gardens."

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