Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad to support Trinamul in rural polls

Birsa Tirkey, the state president of the Parishad
Jalpaiguri: Bengal leaders of the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad said on Tuesday that they would support Mamata Banerjee's party in the coming panchayat polls across the state.
The Parishad is the largest organisation of tribal people in north Bengal and is known to have a considerable clout in the tea belt of the region and some other adivasi pockets of the state.
Birsa Tirkey, the state president of the Parishad, said: "The chief minister and her government have done a lot for the tribal population, right from creation of a separate tribal affairs department to a task force for the community in the Dooars and the Terai, and even established the first Hindi medium college of the state in the Dooars. That is why we have decided to support Trinamul."
The announcement comes as a major boost for the Trinamul Congress, particularly in the tea belt, said political observers. This is because the Trinamul-backed tea trade unions still lack absolute control over the tea population and the BJP is focussing on tea estates in Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar districts.
"BJP leaders know well that a favourable mandate from the tea population can help them secure majority in the zilla parishads of the two districts. This is why Trinamul is also giving impetus to the tea gardens. Also, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has not yet stated its stand as to whether it will support Trinamul or contest alone in the rural polls," said an observer.
In such a situation, the Parishad's support is surely an encouragement for the party, he pointed out.

The Parishad has, however, plans to field candidates in some of the seats, particularly in two lower tiers.
"We want to contest in the seats in the Dooars where the organisational base of Trinamul is not strong. We have already held informal talks with local Trinamul leaders as we want the adjustment of seats to be done in a proper manner and that there should be no double candidates (of Trinamul and Parishad) in any seat," a Parishad leader based in the Dooars said.
Discussions are also in progress as whether the candidates of the Parishad will contest as Independents or on the Trinamul symbol. "We hope to come with a decision soon," added the leader.
Tirkey also confirmed that, along with the Dooars, the Parishad would also support Trinamul in Bankuar, Jungle Mahal and Purulia in southern parts of the state.
In the Dooars, the Parishad has support bases in blocks like Malbazar, Matialli, Nagrakata, Madarihar, Kalchini, Kumargram and some parts of Dhupguri and Falakata spread over two districts.
"If the Parishad manages to galvanise support for Trinamul in these blocks, it would largely help the party. It was evident in the 2016 Assembly polls, when, despite not having a strong trade union base in tea gardens, Trinamul managed to win all the seats in the Dooars, except the Madarihat seat," said a political analyst.
Tirkey, along with some other state leaders of the Parishad, will visit the Dooars next week.
"We will campaign for Mamata Banerjee and her party and will apprise the tribal population of the initiatives taken by the state for their development since 2011," the state president of the Parishad said.

The Telegraph

Bengal leaders of the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad said on Tuesday that they would support Mamata Banerjee's party in the coming panchayat polls across the state.

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