Trinamool Congress on Thursday took control over the panchayat samiti at Katwa in Burdwan district which was under CPI(M)’s control for 38 years.
Trinamool Congress had brought a no-confidence motion against the ruling samiti. Accordingly, the Sub Divisional Officer appointed Shyamalkanti Das as the presiding officer to conduct the voting. However, CPI(M) members did not turn up for the polls and Trinamool got control over the panchayat samiti uncontested. With this, all the panchayat samitis in Burdwan comes under TMC.
In 2013, CPI(M) won 19 out of 26 seats in Katwa I panchayat samity. Congress got six seats and Trinamool got one seat.
In 2015, Congress MLA Rabindranath Chattopadhyay left Congress and joined TMC. Along with him six panchayat samiti members also joined Trinamool taking the total number of members in the panchayat samiti to seven.
In October, eight CPI(M) members joined TMC taking the total number of seats under the party’s control to 15. Having received 15 seats, Trinamool brought a no confidence motion against the samiti alleging corruption and nepotism.
Burdwan district was a CPI(M) stronghold since 1967 when the first United Front government came to power. After the Left Front came to power in 1977, the party consolidated its base and brought all the gram panchayats and zilla parishad under its control. The Burdwan lobby of CPI(M) led by Harekrishna Konar, Benoy Chowdhury, Monsur Habibulah, Robin Sen, Nirupam Sen, Madan Ghosh, Mrinal Banerjee, Jibon Roy, Bansagopal Chowdhury had an influence on the bosses of Alimuddin Street.
The first blow the party received was in 2011 when Nirupam Sen lost to Rabiranjan Chattopadhyay. Over the years, the party started losing its base both in agrarian Burdwan district and industrial areas in Asansol, Raniganj and Durgapur. Though TMC lost two seats in Durgapur in 2016 Assembly election, CPI(M)’s base has witnessed erosion.
The situation turned from bad to worse with the party leaders failing to open the offices in the rural areas. The Burdwan party office was called the most powerful unit after Alimuddin Street. The effort made by Surya Kanta Misra, party’s state secretary has failed to yield no response in brining youth to the party. The old comrades have either retired or have been sidelined over the years. Many party members did not even renew the membership making it more difficult for the party to sustain in the district.