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West Bengal’s Ruling TMC Bets on Grievance Cell Plan for Payoff in 2023 Panchayat Polls

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With panchayat elections to be held next year, West Bengal’s Mamata Banerjee government has come up with a plan to receive grievances from the public about the rural bodies.

The ruling Trinamool Congress has also taken a stand that, come what may, there will be no violence in the panchayat polls.

Party insiders say that at a time when the TMC is facing corruption charges against a number of its leaders, it wants to go into the elections with a clean image. Two top Trinamool leaders — former state minister Partha Chatterjee and party’s Birbhum chief Anubrata Mondal — are behind bars.

As per the grievance cell plan, residents of Bengal’s countryside will be able to lodge complaints and provide suggestions 24×7 on schemes and projects of panchayat and rural development on a portal.

After a person would apply on the grievance portal, he/she would receive a one-time password (OTP), upon entering which a complaint will be lodged. This will then automatically be routed to the concerned government official.

The aim is to redress grievances in an expeditious, fair, and sympathetic manner as soon as possible.

Closing of complaints will be based on feedback from the complainant. And reports of action taken will be scrutinised on mainstream and social media.

Sources in the panchayat department say clear instructions have come from the top that with the implementation of the plan, every grievance cell would have to react as soon as possible, and action must also be taken even if there is a complaint against a TMC leader.

After the BJP got 18 seats in the state in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the TMC the same year launched the “Didi Ke Balo” campaign with the help of poll strategist Prashant Kishor. A phone number was given on which anybody could call and talk to Didi, as Mamata is popularly known.

Analysts say the strategy helped the TMC claw back and win the 2021 assembly elections with a thumping mandate. And now the party hopes the grievance cell plan will give it a similar boost.

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