Siliguri, Feb. 22: Trinamul Congress councillors at the Siliguri Municipal Corporation have “no immediate plans” to walk out of the civic board, party leaders said today.
Trinamul councillors, who had time and again threatened to move out of the board alleging dismal performance by mayor Gangotri Datta and members-mayor-in-council of the Congress today said they would continue to run the board with the Congress.
“We have not taken any decision to leave the civic board. I am going to Calcutta tomorrow to meet the state leaders and discuss issues related to the SMC. Later, if required, our councillors might also be called to Calcutta to hold talks with the leaders. As of now, there are no immediate plans to leave the board. We…would keep on functioning in the civic body to meet the commitments made to the people of Siliguri,” said Krishna Pal, MMIC (PWD) and the secretary general of Darjeeling district Trinamul.
Earlier, Congress leaders, including Darjeeling district president Shankar Malakar, had said Trinamul should quit the board. “They should either stop criticising the mayor or walk out of the board if they have problems with us,” Malakar had said.
Trinamul sources said, although the five portfolio holders of the party — deputy may-or Ranjan Silsharma and four MMICs — had forgone the facilities provided to them from the SMC, they were not willing to leave the board to the Congress alone. “In case we walk out immediately, it would send a wrong message to the people that we have accepted the allegations levelled (against us) by the Congress,” said a party insider.
Instead of walking out, Trinamul councillors would try to mount pressure on the Congress, said a source.
“Our MMICs have already decided not to avail themselves of the official car and allowances. This has created pressure on the Congress. Important departments like PWD, health, water and conservancy are with us. We feel it is not worthwhile to leave the board and let the people suffer. Performance of the departments held by the Congress is pathetic,” said a Trinamul leader. “Our councillors have demanded that the mayor should take decisions with the consent of the deputy mayor,” he added.
Jeevan Majumdar, district general secretary of the Congress, said: “We have nothing against Trinamul. Our councillors had voted against Nantu Paul (on February 14) as he unethically joined Trinamul last year. We want the alliance to continue. We would object to any criticism of the mayor.”