After skirmish,Congress and Trinamool gear up for big fighthttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/kolkata/after-skirmish-congress-and-trinamool-gear-up-for-big-fight/

After skirmish,Congress and Trinamool gear up for big fight

With their ties already strained following the bitter fight over Siliguri’s mayor office,allies Trinamool Congress and the Congress are headed for yet another showdown ahead of the bypolls for 10 Assembly seats in the state due on November 7.

With their ties already strained following the bitter fight over Siliguri’s mayor office,allies Trinamool Congress and the Congress are headed for yet another showdown ahead of the bypolls for 10 Assembly seats in the state due on November 7.

After its humiliation in Siliguri Municipal Corporation,where its ally Congress managed to wrest mayor’s office with the Left’s support,the Trinamool is expected to play the hard ball and demand a few seats in north Bengal,a Congress bastion. Among the seats that Mamata Banerjee’s party may stake claim on is Goalpokhor,which is located in the constituency of Deepa Dasmunsi,the Congress MP who played a key role in her party’s decision in taking the Left’s support to beat the Trinamool in the mayoral race.

After the Siliguri “betrayal”,aggrieved Trinamool leaders in north Bengal are now bearing pressure on the party’s state leadership to contest all the 10 Assembly seats. Though seat-sharing talks for the bypolls are yet to start between the two estranged allies,signs from the Trinamool are ominous,with Banerjee recently saying the Congress will have to accept her party’s supremacy in West Bengal. Local Trinamool leaders in Siliguri vow they would not spare Assembly seats like Goalpokhor and Rajgunge to the Congress,which won them in 2006.

Interestingly,Goalpokhor was won by Deepa Dasmunsi and fell vacant after she was elected to the Lok Sabha this year. Now,Trinamool leaders want to “teach her a lesson”.

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“Deepa has often opposed our party and we are planning to field our own candidate in Goalpokhor. In fact,it is Deepa who played a key role in forming the Siliguri civic board with support from the CPM. She must be taught a lesson,” said Goutam Deb,Trinamool leader in Siliguri.

His party,however,may spare the Congress bastion of Sujapur,which was won by Mausam Benazir Noor,now a Lok Sabha MP. “Didi has good relations with the family of late A B A Ghani Khan Chowdhury and she will not allow us to contest the seat against the Congress,” said a Trinamool leader in Malda.

Ten seats where bypolls are due on November 7 are — Kalchini,Rajgunj,Sujapur,Goalpokhor,Contai (South),Egra,Serampore,Alipore,Belgachia East and Bongaon. Of the ten seats,Contai (South),Egra,Serampore,Alipore and Bongaon were won by the Trinamool Congress during the 2006 Assembly elections.

Meanwhile,the Congress too seemed bracing for a showdown. “We are strong in North Bengal. Therefore,it is only logical that we field candidates here. I do not know what Trinamool leaders are saying about this. But we are clear on our stand,” said Dasmunsi.

Seat-sharing talks between Trinamool and the Congress will start in a day or two.