Aug. 8: Five of the seven Congress councillors in Birbhum’s Dubrajpur municipality, including the chairperson, joined Trinamul today, paving the way for the ruling party to control the board.
The other two Congress councillors have decided to join Trinamul, as have the Congress councillors in the party-run Cooch Behar municipality.
Twenty-four Trinamul rebels who had contested the panchayat polls as Independents from four gram panchayats in Nandigram have also decided to join Trinamul, allegedly after being terrorised by the ruling party. Trinamul will be able to form the boards in the panchayats if it gets the support of the Independents. The party has won 13 of the 17 panchayats in the area.
The exodus ahead of the elections to 11 municipalities on September 21 has worried the Congress.
Among the Congress councillors of Dubrajpur municipality, one of the 11 civic bodies, who joined Trinamul today are chairman Pijush Pande and vice-chairman Noor Mohammed.
Birbhum Congress chief Syed Siraj Zimi said: “We had already expelled Pande and similar action is being contemplated against the four other councillors for being involved in anti-party activities. Our councillors have resorted to opportunistic politics just to win next month’s civic polls under Trinamul’s banner.”
Pande said he joined Trinamul “because we want to be a part of Mamata Banerjee’s development agenda”.
“I was the Congress chairman of the Dubrajpur municipality for over two decades. But I decided to leave the party because I am confident of serving the people better if I switch to the ruling establishment,” he said.
Pande said he was wooed into joining Trinamul by top leaders of the party, including all-India general secretary Mukul Roy. “In the past month, Mukulda had requested me several times to join Trinamul,” he added.
Trinamul now has six members on the board with the five Congress councillors switching to the ruling party. The Congress has two board members and the Left five.
In the Congress-run Cooch Behar municipality, all eight party councillors, including chairman Biren Kundu, have decided to join Trinamul.
“The top Trinamul leadership, including Mukulda, had approached us a number of times, urging us to join the party,” Kundu said.
In Nandigram, several of the Trinamul rebels who contested as Independents said they were being pressurised to return to the party.
“Trinamul has the majority in 13 of Nandigram’s 17 panchayats. Of the remaining four, Independents have the majority in three and are tied with Trinamul in one. Trinamul is terrorising us to rejoin the party,” an Independent said.
Trinamul leader Abu Taher said the Independents had “contacted the leadership on their own” and the party had not pressurised them.