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Left no-confidence move against Paul

Siliguri, Oct. 3: The CPM has said it will submit a letter of no-confidence against Siliguri Municipal Corporation chairman Nantu Paul tomorrow.

Paul, the councillor of ward 11, has switched from the Congress to Trinamul.

“During the monthly board meeting, we staged a walkout expressing no confidence against the chairman on Saturday. We will submit a letter to the SMC commissioner tomorrow stating no-confidence,” Nurul Islam, the leader of Opposition at the civic body, said today.

He added that the party had walked out of the meeting on Saturday because Paul was presiding over a session during which his removal had to be discussed.

“By presiding over the meeting, he has contravened Section 55 of the West Bengal Municipal Corporation Act, 2006, which says that a chairman cannot preside over a meeting where a motion on his removal has to be placed, discussed and decided,” Islam said.

According to the rules, after receiving a letter of no-confidence against a chairman, the commissioner has to convene a board meeting. A voting would take place and if the majority supports the no-confidence motion, the chairman would be removed.

“We do not feel the removal of the chairman will affect the functioning of the board as there are provisions under Section 43 of the act to carry out business at the SMC even in the absence of a chairman,” Islam said.

According to Section 43, the deputy mayor can function as the chairman in his absence and he would have all powers and responsibilities of the chairman.

The Congress had sent a letter to the SMC commissioner on Monday, demanding Paul’s removal from the post of councillor. If the commissioner heeds the letter, the post would fall vacant and a bypoll will have to be conducted in that ward.

Responding to north Bengal development minister Gautam Deb’s assertion that the state government could appoint an administrator for the civic body, which he alleged was “incompetent”, CPM leader Asok Bhattacharya said: “It cannot be done overnight. The board has to be showcaused and the mayor should be heard by competent authorities if charges of incompetence are brought against the board. If the board is found incompetent, all councillors should be asked to vacate their offices and a notification mentioning the board’s incompetence has to be published in the official gazette according to the West Bengal Municipal Corporation Act, 2006.”

The former urban development minister added: “Only then can an administrator be appointed and that too for six months. After the tenure, a new board can be formed and its tenure will be for the remaining period.”

According to observers, if an administrator is appointed, the Left Front would make this an agenda. It would go to the people and say that Trinamul and the Congress had proved incompetent in running the SMC.

“It would be uncomfortable for both Trinamul and the Congress if an administrator is appointed. A gazette notification declaring the civic board incompetent, will be an ideal and effective tool for the Left during its campaigns,” said an observer.

“Now it is for Trinamul to decide whether it would pull out of the board, withdraw support and participate in the polls or appoint an administrator.”