Siliguri, March 5: The Congress and Trinamul will both field candidates for the post of the Siliguri Municipal Corporation chairperson but the Left’s decision to sit out the election may backfire on the Congress.
The Congress today decided to field Sabita Devi Agarwal and request Trinamul to support her according to an agreement reached by the two parties before forming an alliance to form the civic board.
The election would be held on March 13. Trinamul today said that it would field a candidate and the name would be announced tomorrow.
Indications are that the party would like to field Nantu Paul, who had to quit the post last month when the Left moved a no-confidence motion, backed by the Congress. Paul had switched from the Congress to Trinamul but had not quit the civic chairperson’s post.
If the Left’s 17 councillors abstain, the Congress’s 14 in the 47-member board would be one less than Trinamul’s 15. It means Trinamul would win the vote unless there is cross-voting.
Agarwal had held the post of the civic chairperson from 2009 to 2011.
She quit after the Congress and Trinamul formed an alliance to run the civic board jointly. Her name was proposed at a meeting of Congress councillors and leaders here today.
“Tomorrow, mayor Gangotri Datta will write to Gautam Deb, who is the leader of the Trinamul councillors, informing him of our decision to nominate Sabita Devi Agarwal for the post. The mayor would request him to extend his party’s support to our candidate as per the agreement reached between the Congress and Trinamul while forging the alliance,” said Jiban Majumdar, the Darjeeling district general secretary of the Congress.
When the alliance was stitched together, it was decided that mayor, chairman and three members mayor-in-council (MMIC) would be from the Congress, while the deputy mayor and four other MMICs would be from Trinamul.
Tomorrow is the last date for filing nominations.
Gautam Deb today said Trinamul’s candidate would be declared tomorrow. “We will field a candidate in the election to the post of the civic chairperson. The candidate will be announced tomorrow morning.”
Trinamul insiders said the party was considering the name of Paul and lawyers were being consulted to check if the anti-defection law came in the way of his candidature.
“Before we declare Paul’s candidacy, we need to be sure that he doesn’t attract the penal sections of the anti-defection law. Views have been sought from lawyers associated with the party,” said a Trinamul source.