Congress to go it alone in WB Panchayat polls



Jalpiguri: Congress will go it alone in the Panchayat elections in West Bengal, slated for next year, and field candidates for all the 61,000 seats, WBPCC President Pradeep Bhattacharjee said here on Saturday.

"Trinamool Congress (the main ally) was the first to say it would fight the Panchayat polls alone. Congress took the decision after it," he said at a meeting of Mahila Congress here.

Bhattacharjee said 50 per cent of seats in the Panchayat polls have been reserved for women this time and hoped that Mahila Congress would be able to field candidates for all of them.

He said Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh had informed him that Rs 250 crore sanctioned to West Bengal for the implementation of 17 flagship programmes of the Centre, including MNREGA, mid-day meal, Rajiv Gandhi Rural Electricity Mission had been sent back due to non-utilisation.

"I had the idea that the state government has spent only 30 per cent of its allocation last year," he said, adding the Trinamool Congress government was not to be totally blamed for it.

"I hold Trinamool Congress government partly responsible. The erstwhile Left Front government was majorly responsible for the non-utilisation of the funds," he said.

Referring to the tea-workers of the region, the PCC president said he would happy if pay commission was set up for them.

PTI