TMC hit by massive dissent over tickets for final phase of civic polls
Deccan Chronicle.| RAJIB CHOWDHURI and PRANMOY BRAHMACHARY
There were road blockades, protests and gheraoing in several places after two separate lists were released
Protests by TMC ranks erupted in the evening and have been continuing since then in many districts. (Representational image: PTI)
Kolkata/Berhampore: West Bengal's ruling Trinamul Congress has been hit by massive dissent over ticket distribution across several districts for the third and final phase of civic polls to be held in 108 municipalities on February 27. There were road blockades, protests and gheraoing in several places after two separate lists were released -- one by TMC leaders and another by Prashant Kishor's IPAC -- that had separate names.
On Friday afternoon, senior TMC leaders released a list of around 3,000 candidates who were fielded in 107 municipalities while deferring the name of the party's candidate for Darjeeling municipality. They claimed that the list had the approval of party supremo Mamata Banerjee.
But the list did not match with the one shared by the party's political consulting firm, Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC) led by election strategist Prashant Kishor, to the media. Later TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee and Mr Kishor had an altercation during a telephonic conversation over the mismatch, sources said.
Protests by TMC ranks erupted in the evening and have been continuing since then in many districts. On Saturday, state transport minister and Kolkata Mayor Firhad Hakim squarely blamed I-PAC for circulating a different candidates' list illegally.
"There was a huge demand for tickets. Our party leaders prepared the list by working hard. I-PAC was also consulted. Like many I also proposed a list of names to the party for consideration. But these names were uploaded on the party's website and pages illegally. One cannot do it just because they have the passwords. It is a misuse of passwords," he alleged.
I-PAC, however, denied its role in candidates' selection, sources revealed. TMC MLA Madan Mitra said, "If a higher secondary candidate becomes sure of passing with first division marks but does not find his name among the successful candidate, he will obviously feel sad. The party leadership is looking into why and how it happened. I sympathise with the hopefuls who did not get tickets. I urge them not to leave our party. Let us see how adjustments can be done. The party leadership did not consult me. I will try to talk to our party supremo."
At his constituency, Kamarhati in North 24 Parganas, the TMC labour wing suspended bus and auto services to protest against ticket distribution. In North Bengal, party leader Anantadeb Adhikari quit as the party's election committee chief of Moynaguri municipality in Jalpaiguri. In East Midnapore, state minister Akhil Giri faced protests of TMC workers outside his residence at Contai.
Burdwan East saw TMC workers gheraoing their district president R.N. Chatterjee at a party office. At Rabindranagar in South 24 Parganas, the police lathicharged TMC workers for putting up a road blockade. In Murshidabad, Jangipur municipality chairman Mojaharul Islam's followers demonstrated after he was denied ticket like his counterparts, Nilratan Adhya of Berhampore, Bharat Jhawar of Beldanga and Biplab Chakraborty of Lalbag. Stung by the dissent, the TMC entrusted it's district heads to declare new candidates' list.