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Furious at Unfulfilled Promises, Villagers in Hooghly Not Allowing Trinamool Congress to Put Up Poll Graffiti

Residents of the Pursurah Panchayat are still waiting for roads, electricity and a regular drinking water supply.

Residents of Pursurah-I panchayat in Hooghly district have refused to let Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress use the walls in the village for political graffiti ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, citing unfulfilled poll promises from the panchayat elections held almost a year ago.

Per a report written by Piyush Nandi in AnandaBazar Patrika, residents complain that no road construction work is underway in the area, electricity has not reached all parts of the villages and there is scarcity of drinking water. The are angry at the ruling Trinamool Congress for returning to ask for their votes promising more ‘development’.

The report quotes the residents saying, “Before the panchayat polls, Trinamool Congress offered us an abundance of promises. None were fulfilled. Hence, this time we have an objection to using our walls for political campaigning. We are united on this issue.”

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Pursurah block development officer Achintya Ghosh told AnandaBazar Patrika, “The conditions of the panchayat has been conveyed to the district authorities. They will decide the next step.”

As per the report, Pursurah assembly constituency falls under Arambagh subdivision in Hooghly district. Sitting Lok Sabha MP and for Arambagh, TMC’s Aparupa Poddar, said that she is unaware of the issues in the area but she will talk to other Trinamool leaders to solve them.

The report states the panchayat vice president Sheikh Riwazul Mumtaz (alias Badshah) was also turned away when he asked permission from the villagers to put the graffiti. He said, “I tried to convince the villagers.”

The report adds the panchayat president Samirkumar Das has accused Mumtaz of violence due to which, he has to move around with police protection.

Das told Anandabazar Patrika, “The vice president wants to run the panchayat himself by shunting me aside as a puppet. When I protested, he threatened to kill me. He even beat me up. Nothing came out of informing the party or the authorities.”

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Mumtaz reportedly refuted the Das’ claim saying, “Am I a thug that the vice president is scared of me? I have stemmed a lot of attempts at corruption in various initiatives. Hence, the panchayat president has intentionally held up the work of the panchayat.”

Anandabazar Patrika writes, citing sources, that even though the 100 days of work initiative under MGNREGA has functioned in spurts at the panchayat, the work of the West Bengal Government’s Institutional Strengthening of Gram Panchayats (ISGP) program has stopped. The 14th and 15th economic commission’s fund has not been utilised either and works related to providing basic civic amenities is also reportedly not going forward.

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