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CPM wrests civic body

Chinsurah, Dec. 4: A change of guard took place at the Hooghly-Chinsurah Municipality after eight years when the ruling Congress-Trinamul Congress alliance was defeated by the Left Front over a motion against Trinamul chairman Ashis Sen.

Trinamul had won 12 seats, the Congress 4 and the Left the remaining 14 at the elections held in July, 2000. The equation was reversed today with the alliance losing control over the civic body by a 14-16 margin.

Dissident Trinamul councillors Shibu Das and Sanjit Mandal voted in favour of the Left by raising their hands. “Sen is a corrupt chairman who indulges in rampant nepotism,” said Das.

Dissident Das’ cousin Asim Das was among those killed in the July 21, 1993, police firing on a Youth Congress rally in Calcutta. Asim’s family was taken care of by Trinamul chief Mamata Banerjee after the incident. She was also instrumental in nominating him as the party’s candidate for Ward 1.

Das and Mandal were joined by Trinamul councillors Tapashi Dhara and Mita Chatterjee on October 25 when they declared themselves as Independents before the sub-divisional officer and chairman of the municipality. Smelling blood, the Left proposed a motion to remove the chairman on November 13.

Today, CPM’s Kamal Kanti Das was elected president of the session by a 16-14 margin.

Former chairman Sen said: “We accept this verdict but the people will eventually give a fitting reply to those who entered the municipality by the back door. We will inform our state leadership. The party will investigate whether there was sabotage.”

Tapan Dasgupta, a supporter of sacked Trinamul leader Ajit Panja and brother of councillor Gobinda Dasgupta, smelt a rat. “Organisational failure of district party president and Srirampur MP Akbar Ali Khondakar is responsible for the defeat. My brother, a dissident leader, voted for the chairman while Das, sponsored all along by Mamata Banerjee, voted against him,” he said.

The alliance bagged eight out of 12 civic bodies in the district in 2000 but has already lost control of Bansberia, Konnagar, Chanpdani, Uttarpara and Baidyabati municipalities. The Congress controls Srirampur while dissident Trinamul runs Konnagar.

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