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Nantu Paul voted out

Siliguri, Feb. 14: The Congress and the Left Front today voted out Siliguri Municipal Corporation chairman Nantu Paul after a no-trust motion was tabled against him.

While 29 votes were against Paul, 15 votes from Trinamul were in his favour.

Today the councillors attended a meeting called to table the no-trust motion as ordered by the high court. The voting started around 1.30pm.

“Dilip Singh, a senior CPM councillor, presided over the meeting. Twenty nine persons voted in favour of the no-confidence while 15 are against it,” said mayor Gangotri Datta.

The civic body has 47 wards and there are 46 councillors — Left 17, Trinamul 15 and Congress 14. There is no councillor in ward 31 after Trinamul’s Chaitali Sen Sharma resigned in 2010. “Of the 46 councillors, one Congress councillor could not attend the meeting. Singh did not have the voting rights, except a casting vote in case the results were equal,” said a source.

“The Congress has proved that it is with the CPM by voting against Paul. They have acted against the alliance,” Trinamul minister Gautam Deb said. “We will take up the issue with the state leaders and decide whether to continue in the board or not.”

Shankar Malakar, the Darjeeling district Congress president, said: “We cannot think of voting in favour of a person who has left our party.”

Since September 2012, when Paul left the Congress and joined Trinamul, the Left did not attend the monthly board meetings. “Now that he is no longer the chairman, we would attend the meetings,” said Nurul Islam, the leader of Opposition at the SMC.

Deputy mayor Ranjan Silsharma would hold the chairman’s office till a new chairperson is elected.