Civic polls: Left & Cong's 'Siliguri Model' set to fizzle out

Darjeeling: The "Siliguri Model" suffered a major setback with both the

CPI(M) and Congress announcing party candidates for the forthcoming Siliguri Municipal Corporation elections. Chance of a Congress-CPI(M) alliance has started fizzling out.

Incidentally "Siliguri Model" was a term coined following the 2009 and 2015 civic polls in Siliguri where a tacit understanding between the Left and Congress resulted in the halting of TMC's advance despite the TMC and Congress having a pre-poll alliance. This year too, the Congress and Left had held a number of meetings

to forge a pre-poll alliance to stop the advances of both the BJP and the TMC. However, CPI(M) announced names of candidates in 43 wards projecting sitting Mayor Asok Bhattacharjee as the Mayor. Bhattacharjee will be contesting from Ward 6.

On Thursday night TMC announced its candidate list.

Gautam Deb, former tourism minister and present chairman, board of administrators, Siliguri Municipal Corporation to contest from Ward 33.

On the heels, Congress too on Thursday announced the names of candidates for 15 wards. Many of the wards including 3, 5, 12, 14, 15, 22, 26, 33, 39, 40, 41 and 42 have both the Congress and CPI(M) candidates. "Alliance meetings haven't made much headway but the door for talks is still open," stated Bhattacharjee.

Congress leader Jiban Majumder alleged that Left has backstabbed the Congress and announced the candidate list unilaterally. The BJP, meanwhile, has also announced candidates for all 47 wards projecting sitting BJP MLA from Siliguri Sankar Ghosh as the Mayor face.

He will be contesting from ward 24. However, with the BJP list there has been revolt in the ranks and file. "Many have paid money to party leaders to secure candidature. I have done so much for the party but they just used me. They had assured my candidature from ward 2. I will ensure that the BJP does not win from this ward" retorted Pradip Chowdhury, BJP leader.

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