New Delhi: Expressing scepticism over Mamata Banerjee government`s intention to hold panchayat polls in West Bengal, CPI(M) on Sunday said Trinamool Congress had lost its support base it had in 2011.
"Now when both the state Panchayat and the Law Ministers have said the state government will challenge the High Court`s order in a division bench and then again, if things go otherwise, approach the Supreme Court, it is evident that the Trinamool Congress does not want to hold rural polls at all," Leader of Opposition in West Bengal Surjya Kanta Mishra said.
Mishra, also a CPI(M) Politburo member who is here to attend the party`s Central Committee meeting, told PTI here, "From the outset, we were apprehensive about the government`s intention of holding panchayat polls.
Vote share in the 2011 assembly polls showed that if the Trinamool contested without Congress support, then the Left Front was much ahead. And Trinamool`s support base today is not where it was in 2011."
He said while the Chief Minister was saying that her government wanted to hold panchayat elections on time, "her own Ministers are voicing contrary views. From the first day, this government is full of contradictions."
The crucial rural polls are slated in June this year.
In a setback to the state government, the Calcutta High Court had Friday directed that these elections would be held in three phases using central armed forces on dates decided by the State Election Commission and had observed that primacy of the Commission was not negotiable.
Observing that Trinamool Congress was facing trouble after the Saradha scam, Mishra said Mamata Banerjee`s party "is wary about their rural support base. We in the Left don`t expect miracles to happen and an overnight tilt towards us. We know, if polls are held on time, we might lose some Zilla Parishads to them. But, that has never prompted us to create obstacles in the democratic process."
"We are certain from their moves, that they are seriously mulling the idea of imposing administrators over the rural local bodies, once their tenure starts ending from June 10," the CPI(M) leader said.
Mishra said due to legal obstacles, "they (state government) could also bring in an ordinance or shift all powers to BDOs (Block Development Officers) at the panchayat level and district magistrates at zilla parishad level, asking them to act as executive officers."
"By doing this, government will effectively have control over spending of all funds and can be the de-facto ruler in the villages, ruining the concept of local self governance," Mishra said.
CPI(M) has planned to hold a series of protest meetings, rallies and `jail bharo` agitations from the third week of May in West Bengal, "against the state government`s alleged dilly -dallying on holding of these rural polls and against mushrooming of ponzi scheme operators in the state," he said.
Interestingly, the protests would coincide with Mamata Banerjee`s completion of two years in office on May 20.
"We will see to it that Trinamool`s nefarious designs are exposed in front of the people and the rural population of Bengal get back their right to self-rule," Mishra added.