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Monday, April 25, 2011

Sikkim has no representation at centre: Chamling... ABGL leaders show caused

Sikkim has no representation at centre: Chamling
IANS, New Delhi, April 25: Emphasising that since its merger with the Indian union Sikkim has no representation at the centre, Chief Minister Pawan Chamling suggested that the word "Sindh" in the national anthem be replaced with "Sikkim" to further strengthen emotional integration of the people of the state with the country.
Delivering a lecture ‘Regional parties and their efficacy in advancing nation building’ at Jamia Millia Islamia here, Chamling said that stereotype thinking should be changed to strengthen national unity.
‘In order to strengthen our understanding of national unity, we may need to revisit stereotype thinking and obsolete outlook both in terms of country’s strength and understanding of nationalism. In the same context, I suggested earlier and still say why not substitute the word ‘Sindh’ in our national anthem with the word ‘Sikkim,” Chamling said.
The chief minister said that when India gained independence, Sikkim was not part of the Indian union.
‘Now has not the fact altered? This (by including Sikkim in the national anthem) will further cement the edifice of emotional integration and justice done to peace-loving citizens of India,’ he said.
Sikkim merged with India in 1975 to become the 22nd state of the Indian union.
Chamling, who launched the Sikkim studies programme at Jamia, said that smaller states have little or no influence over the policy direction of the central government and the party with greater number of MPs has a greater say.
‘Since Sikkim’s merger with the Indian union, not a single cabinet berth has been allotted to Sikkim MPs and not a single Sikkimese has been appointed to any constitutional post. Smaller states like Sikkim have no representative in the central government. This tends to puncture our self esteem and a sense of dismay settles over when any regional aspiration is seldom honoured,’ he said.
Chamling, who is founder president of the Sikkim Democratic Front which has been in power in the state for the last 17 years, said regional parties have ‘greater leverage and innovation in effective national building’ and ‘manifest deepening of democracy’.
He said regional parties across the country have come to be expressions of people’s aspirations and added that such parties have the advantage of first hand knowledge of local situation.
‘Our appreciation of ground realities is so much better. It is not coloured by central level politics of national parties,’ he said.
The chief minister said his state was contributing to environmental and water security of the country and had foregone many development options generally available to lowland states. ‘We, however, find that at the national level, these sacrifices we make are hardly accounted for.’
Chamling also spoke about smaller states facing budgetary constraints.
‘Budget formulation and annual plan finalisation is done as per the Gadgil committee formula taking population ratio as the criteria. Due to scanty allocation, we get little elbow room to manoeuvre our development options in the state. Our voices fail to reach the corridors of power in the centre… We feel the pinch as major benefits are taken away by the ministries headed by larger states,’ he said.
The chief minister suggested that a new system should be formulated for determining MPs on the size of states and not on the basis of population.
Jamia Millia Islamia Vice Chancellor Najeeb Jung said that larger states get greater voice and it was essential for the system to debate how to overcome the lacuna.
‘Lectures like these put these issues in perspective,’ he said.
The Vice Chancellor said that the university was an eclectic, nationalist, secular university. He said that though Jamia had been declared a minority institution its doors were open to all irrespective of caste and region.
Sanjoy Hazarika, Director, Centre for North East studies, Academy of Third World Studies of the university, who moderated the lecture, said as a result of initiative taken by Sikkim, the varsity was getting response form other north eastern states to start study programmes.
ABGL leaders show caused
KalimNews: ABGL top leaders Dawa Sherpa and Manoj Dewan were show caused for their inactive role during the assembly poll.  Dawa Sherpa was the working president while Manoj was general secretary of Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League. The decision was taken during the executive committee meeting held on monday. Laxman Pradhan vice President said that the reason behind their absence during the entire poll campaign and poll period is unknown to the members so they were show caused. They have to answer us within seven days otherwise they will be expelled from the party. Both Pradhan and Dewan refused to comment on the show cause notice. It is believed that they might opt for another party.
Plain parties to start Banga Bhanga agitation
KalimNews: Rashtriya Shiv Sena, Amra Bangali and BOBBC jointly said that they will start the anti Banga bhanga agitation after the announcement of poll result.Dasrath Karmakar, President of Rashtriya Shiv Sena, North Bengal said that government has failed to curb the separatist movement and deletion of inscribed word Gorkhaland from the government signboards. Dr Mukund Majumdar president of BOBBC said that whosoever comes to power in the state should not tolerate the division of Bengal.
Tibetan elections result to be declared on April 27
PTI, Dharamsala, Apr 25:The Chief Election Commission of the Central Tibetan Administration will announce the final results of the elections of Prime Minister and the members of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile on April 27.
Chief Election Commissioner Jampal Choesang and Additional Election Commissioners Geshe Rigzin Choedak and Yangkho Gyal will announce the results, a spokesman of the Administration said today.
The final round of polling for the 15th Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile and 3rd directly elected Prime Minister (Kalon Tripa) was conducted on March 20 this year.
The Tibetan community in India, North America, Italy, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Poland, Japan, Russia, Taiwan and Australia had participated in the process.
A total of 83,399 Tibetans had registered to exercise their franchise.
Earlier, in the preliminary round held on October 3 October last year, out of 79,449 registered voters, 61 per cent of voters cast their ballots.

Book bombers in murder net - Pages scooped out to plant IED
TT, Malda, April 25:Two persons connected with the parcel bomb blast that killed a young lady teacher yesterday were arrested this afternoon. The IED, the nature of which is still unknown, had been planted inside a 600-page book whose pages had been scooped out, police said.
A vital clue to the case had been provided by the courier company that had delivered the parcel unknowingly.
Aparna Ghosh, the 26-year-old teacher of Ramakrishna Balika Vidyalaya, was killed when she opened the brown paper parcel supposedly containing books after it was delivered at her rented room in Malanchapalli.
Prince Ghosh with whom Aparna had a relationship and Rajkumar Rishi, who is believed to be the supplier of the IED, were picked up around noon from Chhoto Sujapur in Kaliachak. The police were on the look out for 28-year-old Prince after Aparna’s father said he had once slapped her in a bus.
The deputy inspector-general of police, Malda range, Sashikant Pujari, said Prince had confessed to the crime during preliminary interrogation.
“Both arrested men are television mechanics. Once they used to work in the servicing centre of a prominent television manufacturer. But Prince had been unemployed for sometime while Rishi runs a television repair shop in Sujapur,” Pujari said. The two were picked up from Rishi’s house. Pujari said the arrests were possible after an employee of a private courier company in Gajole told additional police superintendent Kalyan Mukherjee that he had delivered the parcel.
“Prince, after packing the IED in the middle of a scooped- out 600-page book, gave the parcel to the courier service to be delivered to Aparna’s rented house on April 22. The delivery was to be made the next day. Since nothing happened (no blast was reported), the employee of the courier service received several calls from Rishi wanting to know why the delivery had not been made. We honed in on the duo by tracing the call list of the courier employee’s mobile phone,” he said.
He said Prince’s house in Old Malda’s Mangalbari was also raided and parts of the mutilated book were seized from there.

From the pages of the book strewn around, the police suspect it had around 600 pages. But they are yet to find out which book had been used.
The blast had almost severed Aparna’s limbs and she died moments after she was admitted to the Malda district hospital.
The school teacher had shifted to the rented room seven months ago from a private hostel. Her brother who is appearing for his Madhyamik next year used to stay with her. But yesterday, he had gone to visit his parents in Habibpur, 50km from here.
Malda police chief Bhuban Mondal said the accused had also celebrated their success at a hotel in Mangalbari yesterday evening.
“They are going to be produced in court tomorrow and we will ask for seven days police remand for both of them. They have been charged under Sections 302 (murder), Section 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention), Section 202 (attempt to destroy evidence) under the Indian Penal Code as well as under the Indian Explosive Substances Act,” the police chief said.
Officers investigating the case said Prince had been plotting the murder from the time Aparna severed all ties with him.
“The two had come to know each other after Aparna divorced her husband in 2009. He had introduced himself as an engineer. However, about one-and-half years ago, they had an altercation in a bus while travelling to Raiganj and he slapped her. Since then, Aparna cut off all ties with him,” an investigating officer said.
But Prince continued to threaten her over the phone.
The case has evoked much interest in police circles and officers from the CID, the bomb squad in Siliguri and forensic experts and Special Security personnel from Calcutta visited the sealed room in Malanchapalli today.
The director of the State Forensic Sciences Laboratory in Calcutta, D.P. Sengupta, said the IED was not a common one.
“We have never come across such a device. We have collected samples from the scene of the crime — it was still smelling of the substance used in the bomb. However, we can only be certain of the nature of the explosive used in this case after lab tests,” Sengupta said.
He said he and his team had collected bloodstained needles and steel pins, used as shrapnel, as well as wires and part of a circuit board from the spot.
Changmari tries plucking machine
TT, Jaigaon, April 25: The management of Changmari tea estate has introduced a machine for plucking leaves in the garden, the trial for which was conducted yesterday.
The machine made in Japan weighs 11kg and three workers are needed to operate it.
In six hours, it can pluck 500kg of tealeaves from an area of 1.5 hectares.
General manager of the garden, D. S. Parmar said, 25 workers need the same time to pluck 500kg of leaves.
The garden in Nagrakata, 110km from here, is the first in north Bengal to use such a machine which the management claims will result in better production.
“We are a 1,400-hectare garden with about 4,000 workers. Back in 2008, we hit an all-time high in production with 32.52 lakh kg of tea. But we have the capability of producing 35 lakh kg a year. For that we are having to employ extra workers, another 1,000, from outside and they come from places 25 to 30km away,” Parmar said. He said most youths of the garden were going elsewhere to look for jobs after finishing their education and the number of male workers were also declining. “Shortage of workers in the garden has hampered the quantity and quality of production. For this we are introducing the machine,” he said.
The plucking machine costing Rs 1.1 lakh consumes a litre of petrol in an hour, he said.
The management has said one machine will be used for plucking tealeaves this season and more machines would be procured if the results were satisfactory. “We will take the final decision after conferring with the trade unions,” Parmar said.
Yesterday, the demonstration was conducted in front of the workers and representatives of the trade unions in the garden.
Parmar added that Monabarie tea estate in Assam has the highest production in India with 35 lakh kg of tea a year.
“Our factory has a capacity of 40 lakh kg a year and we can achieve that target easily with more efficient plucking,” he said. The trade union leaders, however, fear that the introduction of the plucking machine would mean that there will be lay offs in the garden. “There is no question of laying off anyone as they will be transferred to other departments,” Parmar said.

Leopard mauls eight - Foresters fire, pellets suspected to have struck cat

ANIRBAN CHOUDHURY, TT, Alipurduar, April 25: A leopard ran today amok in a village near Madarihat injuring eight persons but is suspected to have been hurt when the forest staff fired in self-defence.
Till late in the afternoon, it remained hidden in a trellis supporting betel vines while efforts were on to tranquillise and capture it with two pet elephants from Jaldapara.
Om Prakash, the divisional forest officer of wildlife III, said the betel trellis has been netted and the forest staff would wait till daybreak tomorrow to dart the animal.
Two attempts to dart it around 6pm failed. The two kunkis or pet elephants, Sambhu and Madhubala, are still at the spot. From the crack of dawn till sunset, the man-animal face off continued as the snarling big cat went on the prowl.
The first to be attacked was Sandhya Das of Jhar Beltali village, 50km from here a little after 6am. The animal pounced on her from the back when she was taking her cattle out to graze.
The next target was Subhash Bhadra, who rushed to the woman’s rescue, said Sudhan Barman, an eye-witness. “The leopard had been lurking in a small clump of bamboo growth and had come out to attack the woman. Subhash, too, was mauled as soon as he ran towards Sandhya. The leopard lashed out with its claws and injured him on the right arm. Subhash’s cousin had the presence of mind to strike it with a heavy branch that had fallen there. The animal then leapt into the betel vine trellis,” Sudhan said.
A forest squad from the Madarihat range office, 15km from the spot, reached the village around 7am. By then a large crowd had gathered around the trellis and the forest staff, including beat officer, Pulokesh Goswami, had a hard time keeping the people away.
Then the inevitable happened: Pankaj Adhikary, a villager, tried to catch a glimpse of the leopard and peeped through the densely hanging betel vines. The leopard clawed his hands.
With three villagers injured, the situation turned tense. It was then that the forest staff decided that the animal, whose sex was yet to be determined, should be tranquillised, forest sources said.
Around noon when the forest staff began surrounding the trellis with nets, the leopard in a blur of orange and black spots lurched at the men. Forest staff members — Goswami, Bikram Mangor, Deborso Roy, Tapan Sarkar and Sanjib Lohar — were mauled.
Forest sources said others from the team fired a shotgun they were carrying and the leopard once again took shelter among the vines.
The injured people, including the forest staff, were taken to the district hospital in Jalpaiguri.
DFO Om Prakash said the large crowd had agitated the leopard. “We had asked for two kunkis from Jaldapara and they will be used to tranquillise the leopard. There is a possibility that the animal might have suffered from pellet injuries when our staff fired from their shotgun in self- defence,” he said.
Rhino kills 1
TT, Jaigaon: Deepak Sharma, a 45-year-old resident of East Khairbari, died after he was attacked by a rhino on Monday. Omprakash, the divisional forest officer of wildlife III, said the deceased along with his three friends had gone to the bank of Torsha river to collect fodder for cattle when the animal attacked the group. Although the other three managed to escape, Sharma was gored by the animal and died on the spot. Foresters of Jaldapara wildlife sanctuary, along with Madarihat police, rescued the body on Monday evening.
TT, Alipurduar: Two unnatural deaths were reported in Alipurduar and Shamuktala in the past 24 hours. Sukla Sarkar, a 24-year-old housewife from Palasbari, allegedly killed herself at home by hanging. Alipurduar police have arrested her husband Apurba and father-in-law Bidhubhusan on the basis of a complaint lodged by her brother Gopal Dey. In another incident, Suparna Roy, 23, a resident of Dangi in Shamuktala, committed suicide by hanging herself at her residence. No complaint has been lodged in this connection yet.
Binayak Gets Bail: When Will All our Binayaks Get Justice?

Dipankar Bhattacharya,, 25 April, 2011: Dr. Binayak Sen has finally got bail following a favourable directive from the Supreme Court. In granting him bail, the apex court has also questioned the flimsy basis on which the Chhattisgarh government has charged him with sedition. The judges, Justice Harjit Singh Bedi and Justice Chandramauli Kumar Prasad, are reported to have said that Binayak may well be a Maoist sympathizer but that does not automatically attract charges of sedition. They have also said that just as mere possession of Gandhi’s autobiography does not make one Gandhian, the same also holds good for the works of Marx, Lenin or Mao. It should however be noted that the comments made on the issue of sedition, though made in open court and reported widely in the media, are not part of the court’s order. In fact, the judges did not give any reason “lest they prejudice any party” in the case!
It is nevertheless refreshing to hear such words of sanity from the apex court at a time when the state has identified ‘Maoism’ as the biggest threat to internal security and cutting across ideological divides, central and state governments are joining hands to wage a veritable war on democracy in the name of combating the Maoists. Indeed such sanity is quite rare and on plenty of occasions the apex court has just upheld lower court verdicts without giving any relief to victims of state repression and lower court injustice. To remind our readers of just one such case, Comrade Shah Chand and thirteen others from Jahanabad district in Bihar who had been sentenced for life by a TADA court in Bihar in 2003 got no justice from the Supreme Court. No arms were recovered from these comrades; the inventory of articles found with them included copies of the Communist Manifesto, Mao’s articles and manuals of Bihar Pradesh Kisan Sabha and studies on Bihar’s agrarian economy. The TADA court had dubbed this literature ‘terrorist’ and the Supreme Court merely upheld this fiat of the TADA court!
Let us not forget that even in Dr. Binayak Sen’s case, he has just got bail and acquittal is still a long way off. It took nearly two years and a sustained campaign across the country and an international outcry by human rights campaigners to secure the first bail after Sen had been arrested in May 2007 on charges of ‘sedition’. Yet we know the Raipur trial court went on to convict him and once again the High Court rejected the bail plea. And let us also remember that while Dr. Sen has been granted bail there are many languishing in Chhattisgarh jails on sedition charges including tribal activists Kopa Kunjam and Kartam Joga and businessman Piyush Guha and hundreds of tribal people from entire Chhattisgarh villages designated as hotbeds of sedition! In spite of periodic interventions by the Supreme Court and repeated directives to the Chhattisgarh government to disband the unconstitutional Salwa Judum campaign, Chhattisgarh remains a veritable graveyard of human rights.
In the second week of March, Chhattisgarh police claimed to have fought an encounter battle with Maoists in the jungles of Dantewada. A fact-finding team visiting Chintalnar, Morapally, Timmapuram and Tadmetla villages in that area found the police claim to be nothing but a hoax. They said what had happened in reality was a full-scale rampage by state-sponsored Koya commandos and the “CoBRA” unit of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) from March 11 to 16 in the course of which at least three tribals were killed, three women were raped and over 300 houses/huts, granaries and other properties were set on fire. A few days later when Swami Agnivesh took a relief team to the villages, he was attacked forcing the NHRC to take notice and the Supreme Court to call for yet another hearing on the Salwa Judum case which is going on for four years now. And the latest SC hearing once again brought out the real truth that Chhattisgarh is experiencing a systematic war on human rights and that the war is being jointly sponsored by the state and central governments.
While welcoming the bail granted to Dr. Binayak Sen and the remarks made by the judges, the human rights movement cannot lose sight of this larger ongoing war. In fact, the time is now absolutely ripe for a powerful countrywide people’s movement for democratic rights. The draconian laws – some of them archaic, and some are of recent origin – must go. The sedition law (Section 124A of IPC), the AFSPA, the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act 2005, the sweeping and draconian provisions of the UAPA – these are all utterly incompatible with the notion of a functional democracy. The awakened public opinion which has forced on the government the agenda of drafting an anti-corruption legislation must also call for repealing all these terrible laws which make a complete mockery of our constitutional liberties and rights. Let anti-corruption campaigners and human rights activists march together and unfurl the common banner of a democratic India free of corruption and repression. (KalimNews:What about Chhatrey Subba and others?)
(The above is this week’s editorial of the CPI(ML) Liberation’s weekly, ML Update. The author is General Secretary, CPI(ML) Liberation.)
Election Commission cautions parties - poll Advertisements on TV during no-campaign period
SNS, KOLKATA, 25 APRIL: The state election authorities today shot off letters to all political parties in the state cautioning them against airing campaign advertisements in television channels during the no-campaign period, which remains in force from 48 hours before the commencement of polling and till 5 p.m. of the polling date.
The state joint chief electoral officer (CEO), Mr Dibyendu Sarkar, today wrote the letters to nine political parties, including the Trinamul Congress, CPI-M, BJP and the Congress.
The move comes in the wake of airing advertisements on regional television channels by several political parties during the no-campaign period in the first and second phases of the election held on 18 and 23 April.
“The violation of the no-campaign norm by political parties came to our notice, recently. Following this, today we have sent letters to all the political parties asking them not to air any advertisements on TV during the no-campaign period for the remaining phases of the election. This is necessary, as the reach of satellite TV channels is not confined to any specific area. Any violation of the stipulated norm would attract a maximum imprisonment of two years under section 126 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951,” Mr Sarkar said.
EC full Bench to visit state on 28 April
SNS:The full Bench of the Election Commission (EC), led by the chief election commissioner (CEC), Mr SY Quraishi, will be coming to Kolkata on a day-long visit on 28 April to oversee the preparations for the fourth, fifth and sixth phases of the election. The Commission is especially concerned about the polling in the 14 Maoists-hit constituencies that are going to poll on 10 May.
“At 12 noon, the CEC will meet representatives of nine recognised political parties in the state; at 4 p.m. meeting would be held with the DMs, SPs, DCs and election observers from the seven districts going to poll in the fourth, fifth and sixth phases and finally at 6 p.m., he would meet the state chief secretary, home secretary, director general of police and the ADG (law and order). The EC Bench will fly back to Delhi on that evening,” state additional chief electoral officer (CEO) Mr Nikhil Kumar Sahana said.
Meanwhile, the Orissa CEO, Mr S Srinivasan, who has been deputed as special observer for the third phase of poll on 27 April, arrived in the city yesterday. Today, he visited a number of constituencies in Kolkata, including Tollygunge.
SMS: A smart way to violate model code
Shiba Nanda Basu, SNS, KOLKATA, 25 APRIL: Writings on the wall seem to have taken the back seat and SMSs are the new buzz in the poll season, which even find a way past the model code of conduct quite smartly.
According to the model code of conduct, no political party can campaign 48 hours before election in a given constituency. But, tech-savvy political parties have embarked on a new style to evade model code. A day before the polls in north Bengal, some politically motivated SMSs are doing the rounds that shrewdly defies the model code of conduct. The message that are in circulation either counter Trinamul's “winds of change” or lambasted CPI-M's claim of progress and industrialisation.
One such SMS that quoted RAW reports, reads: Left Front would secure 175-185 seats in the 2011 Assembly poll. However, the sender's name used in the message is one Mr VK Sahai, a Delhi-based advocate. The message reads: “Breaking news for WB assembly election. Reports of RAW: Swing of 4.9% minority votes towards Left in WB… 47% to 49% vote to left with 175-185 seats. Please forward this message to ten persons without fail.” As the message was sent by an individual from Delhi, it doesn't come under model code of conduct.
District leaders of both CPI-M and Trinamul accept that this is a good ploy prior to election to continue campaign without violating the model code of conduct. They don't see any harm in this.
Influencing electorates through text messages have proved popular from the very beginning of poll campaign. Apart form begging votes political parties even indulged in political lampooning through messages. One such message reads: “Bengal is sick and the name of the disease is “paribartan” (change), TMC is the germ and the carrier of the germ is Mamata. The symptoms of the disease are Murder, hindrance in progress and boasting lies.” The message requested to take “Left Front vaccine” in the upcoming election to get rid of the disease.”
Another message, titled, “Latest update of CPI-M,” countered the CPI-M's message. It reads: "CPI-M means: Farming (cultivation of blood in Singur, Industry (Sharp rise in the production of Maoists and Gorkha activities, Peace (bullets in Netai) Progress (English being abolished at primary-level).” The message requests to form new government by choosing the right candidates.
Can LF resist the winds of change?
Dipankar Bose, SNS, KOLKATA, 25 APRIL: Shyampukur Assembly constituency has had its tryst with the Janata Party, Congress and Forward Bloc since 1977. Since 1991 Assembly poll the FB has not looked back. The last poll in 2006 saw Mr Jibanprakash Saha of the FB win by a margin of 10,078 votes over his nearest BJP candidate. Mr Saha is again trying his luck from Shyampukur as the FB candidate in this election.
Then came the 2009 Lok Sabha polls and the beginning of Left’s woes. Results showed that LF trailed by 9,322 votes to Trinamul Congress. This was followed by the Kolkata Municipal Corporation poll of 2010, which was literally swept by Trinamul. Post-delimitation, Trinamul Congress candidates have won seven of the 11 wards, now making up Shyampukur constituency. Trinamul’s Dr Sashi Panja, who is the party’s candidate from Shyampukur, won from ward number 26 and is the member, mayor-in-council (education) in KMC.
Mr Saha, who has been living here for the past 40 years or more and maintains contacts, is heavily dependent on the CPI-M for his success at the hustings. CPI-M’s former MP, Mr Sudhanshu Sil, a resident of ward number 20, has considerable sway in the area. Even die-hard Trinamul workers are not sure about the outcome of ward numbers 10, 18, 20 and 21.
“It will be a tough contest in these wards. Our opposition has a sizeable presence here. We are focussing on other wards to secure as much lead as possible to overcome the deficit in these four wards,” said a Trinamul leader managing the poll for Dr Panja.
Areas like Shyampukur, Shyambazar, Darjipara and BK Paul Avenue have a predominantly middle-class Bengali population who have sided with the Left over the years. But, the moment localities of Nimtala Ghat Street, Posta, Jorabagan and Beadon Street come into the picture, the factor of a sizeable chunk of non-Bengali and low-income-group slums voters comes into effect. And that is where the BJP and its candidate, Mr Ganesh Kumar Dhanania, are pinning their hopes. Even Dr Panja is aware of this.
“It's true that BJP continues to be a factor in some areas, especially in the slums. But, the business community is with us. I have had a series of interactions with them and by now they know that voting for BJP would only mean wasting their votes. I have a feeling that they like us. We are hopeful,” says Dr Panja, the daughter-in-law of the late Ajit Panja, who had a large following in the Shyampukur constituency. Mr Saha’s supporters, on the other hand, are content calling Dr Panja an “outsider”.
“She doesn’t speak fluent Bengali, leave alone fulfiling the promises of the electorate. Even her Hindi needs care (Dr Panja speaks Telugu). She is unable to connect with the voters. Mr Saha has been around for most of the time and is easily accessible. Gone are Ajit-da's days. It's altogether a different ball game now,” says a senior FB leader of Shyampukur. Both the candidates vouch for beautification of the ghats along the Hooghly, maintenance of parks, construction of more community centres and affordable schools and education institutions, address the sewerage problem and potholed roads.

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