Calcutta, Sept. 20: Trinamul MP Shubhendu Adhikari today completed his circle of domination in East Midnapore by wresting control of the Haldia municipality by pushing through a no-trust motion against the Left-run board with the help of three Left councillors.
The victory is significant for the Tamluk MP — who has heaped one humiliation after another on the CPM since Nandigram erupted in 2007 — as the Left’s victory in the June 2012 civic polls in Haldia was portrayed by some of his party colleagues as his personal loss.
Some in the party accused him of following former CPM MP Lakshman Seth’s “dictatorial” way of functioning. Seth used to control the supply of materials and manpower to companies in the industrial township.
“All these were propaganda by a section in the party. What he couldn’t do in 2012, he has done in 2013,” a Trinamul supporter said, adding that the victory in the aftermath of the panchayat poll success would silence Subhendu’s critics in the party.
Haldia is abuzz with speculation on how Subhendu, a member of the Adhikari family whose writ runs larger than Trinamul’s in East Midnapore, managed to split the regimented Left ranks.
Three Left councillors today supported the no-confidence motion against Tamalika Panda Seth, the chairperson of the municipality, while one stayed away, paving the way for Trinamul to win 14-11.
“The three Left councillors supported the no-confidence motion because of intimidation, threats and force. These councillors were in hiding and Trinamul was behind their disappearance…. This is nothing but a back-door entry by Trinamul into the Haldia municipality,” Tamalika said.
Tamalika, the wife of former Haldia strongman Seth, had been at the helm of the board since the Haldia municipality was formed in 1997.
Although the Left managed to retain control in last year’s elections, its tally came down to 15 from 19.
The Left-run board had complained several times that Subhendu was coming in the way of its functioning by orchestrating regular protests, both inside and outside the plush municipal office in the City Centre area.
Trinamul sources said the disruptions were planned as Subhendu always harboured the “dream” of controlling the Haldia municipality, which has in its area factories of Haldia Petrochemicals, Mitsubishi, Exide and Indian Oil. On two earlier ocassions, Subhendu had unsuccessfully tried to push through no-confidence motions against Tamalika.
“Bringing a no-confidence motion is allowed in a democracy and we did that…. It was proved that the chairperson did not have the necessary support,” Subhendu told The Telegraph.
The CPM’s Gopal Das and Bikas Jana and the CPI’s Sukdeb Dolui voted for the motion. The CPM’s Dulal Jana abstained from the meeting. The voting was done by the raising of hands.
Adhikari denied that Trinamul had forced the trio to vote for the motion.