With the panchayat elections round the corner in West Bengal, Leader of the Opposition Suvendu Adhikari of the BJP claimed in the Assembly on Friday that 34 percent of the seats had gone uncontested in the 2018 polls and won by the ruling Trinamool Congress. Claiming that the panchayat elections of 2003 during the CPI(M)-led Left Front rule and the 2018 polls under the TMC regime have set bitter precedents, Adhikari said that he hopes that the state government will help the State Election Commission hold free and fair elections in 2023. He said that 34 percent of the seats had gone uncontested under the TMC rule in the 2018 panchayat elections in the state.
Participating in the debate on budgetary demands for the financial year 2023-24 for the Panchayat department of the state, he said that of the total 78,492 seats, 20,269 were uncontested and won by the ruling party in the 2018 panchayat elections. Adhikari claimed that there remains much to be done to ensure that true beneficiaries get houses, toilets, or water supply at home under various welfare schemes. He said that job cards should be linked with the Aadhaar Card of the MGNREGA beneficiaries have to be done to ensure that the workers get the funds in their bank account.
Replying to the LoP's accusations, Panchayat Minister Pradip Majumdar said that if opposition members can provide proof of allegations of corruption in the welfare schemes, the state government will investigate the matter. Stating that the state government has completed the Aadhaar linking of job cards of over 95 percent of beneficiaries, Majumdar said that the Centre was yet to release MGNREGA funds for West Bengal. A proposal by the minister for a budgetary grant of Rs 26,583.52 crore for West Bengal's Panchayat and Rural Development department was passed by the House by voice vote.