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Puja keeps Trinamul in SMC

- CPM, Congress walk out of meeting

Siliguri, Sept. 30: The Trinamul Congress today said that despite differences with the Congress, their councillors will not walk out of the civic board or severe ties till Durga Puja is over so that the people can enjoy a hassle-free festival.

Krishna Pal, the secretary-general of the Darjeeling district Trinamul, and the member mayor-in-council (PWD) at the Siliguri Municipal Corporation, today said the party has taken the decision in the interests of the residents of Siliguri.

“We are prepared to withdraw support from the SMC board and walk out any time. However, we have simultaneously thought over the fact that our departure might cause an impasse at the civic body and can affect the services extended to people, ahead of the Durga Puja and during the festival days,” Pal said.

“It has thus been decided that despite the differences with the Congress, we will continue to remain in the board till the Pujas are over,” he said.

Four of the Trinamul MMICs hold crucial portfolios — conservancy, electricity, water and roads — and a fifth, Ranjan Sil Sharma, is the deputy mayor in the board. In the Pujas, the four departments are responsible for keeping the town clean and functioning.

“These are departments in which prompt and consistent work during Puja days are required,” a Trinamul source said.

The party does not want to give the Congress or the Left any scope for criticism. The two parties would try to cash in on the impasse and make it an issue against the Trinamul, the source said.

The CPM and the Congress walked out of the monthly board meeting of the SMC on Saturday as they alleged that the meeting was presided over by Nantu Paul who had joined the Trinamul. The meeting was the last before Durga puja and a lot of decisions were left pending after the walkout by the parties.

“The residents will suffer if we walk out of the board now as has been proved in yesterday’s board meeting, where both CPM and Congress walked out and left several important decisions pending, before Durga Puja,” he added.

“We have asked our councillors, the MMICs and the deputy mayor to oversee the tasks across the civic body so that people can spend a hassle-free Durga Puja. To supplement these efforts, we will extend all possible help from the north Bengal development department,” said Gautam Deb, the north Bengal development minister.