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CIMA Gallary

Left pressure to axe Paul

Siliguri, Nov. 8: The CPM today threatened to take legal steps against the Congress-headed civic board if its no-confidence letter against chairman Nantu Paul is not discussed and voted on before Diwali.

Former mayor Nurul Islam, who is the leader of the Opposition at the Siliguri Municipal Corporation, said they had submitted a letter to SMC commissioner P.D. Pradhan in October that they wanted to move a no-confidence motion against Paul.

The Congress too had demanded that Paul, who was earlier in the Congress and has switched to Trinamul, be removed from the chairman’s post and also as councillor of ward 11 in Siliguri.

The Congress has so far not said whether it will support the CPM, which has 17 councillors.

The Congress has 14 councillors and Trinamul 15 after Paul’s switch.

“Nothing, however, happened. We again submitted a letter yesterday, this time to the mayor, reiterating our demand. All the 17 (Left) councillors have mentioned that if the mayor and the civic authorities do not remove Paul from the chairman’s post and depute someone else, we will have no other option but to approach the court against the board,” Islam said.

According to practice, after the mayor gets a letter, a meeting of the members mayor-in-council is called to discuss the issue. Then a civic board meeting is called to table the motion and the voting is held. So far, none of these proceedings have happened. “We feel this delay is infringement of our constitutional and legal rights provided under the municipal corporation act of the state,” Islam said.

The Left Front councillors had said they would not attend board meetings as long as Paul was the chairman.

“We are not attending meetings as we have expressed no-confidence against the chairman. The civic authorities and the Congress-Trinamul board is refraining from organising board meetings and has kept the issue pending. Our request to the mayor is that… she must intervene, take appropriate steps and ensure that meetings and other activities are regularised. The board can’t simply sit silent. If such a situation persists even after Diwali, we would be left with no other option but to take legal steps,” said the CPM leader.

Trinamul had earlier hinted that if the Congress took any steps against Paul, the party would pull out of the board which is headed by the Congress and seek the appointment of an administrator to run the SMC.

“There are no checks and balances on the expenditure incurred by the civic body as the Congress and Trinamul councillors are sitting idle with their own political interests. They are least bothered about amenities,” Islam said.

Mayor Gangotri Dutta of the Congress said the process to remove Paul had started.

“The process of removal of the civic chairman is in progress. Our party is working on it (the issue) at the political level. From the administrative side, we can assure that the SMC is taking all necessary steps,” she said.