Siliguri, Sept. 23: Trinamul councillors in the Siliguri Municipal Corporation (SMC) staged a walk-out from the budget meeting today alleging that mayor Gangotri Datta had said in March that the budget had already been passed.
As Datta started reading the budget, Krishna Pal, a senior Trinamul councillor asked the mayor whether the budget was passed on March 23. Twelve of the 14 Trinamul councillors, except Gautam Deb and Ranjan Silsharma, were present at the meeting.
“Since March-end, you have, on several occasions, said that the budget has been passed. We would like to hear from you whether the budget was passed on March 25,” Pal told the mayor.
Datta, however, went on reading the budget as she was urged to do so by deputy mayor and acting chairperson Sabita Devi Agarwal, her party councillors, as well as Munshi Nurul Islam, the leader of Opposition from the CPM.
The Congress board, reduced to a “minority” since Trinamul withdrew support in March-end this year, could not pass the budget on March 23. As Nantu Paul was in the chairman’s post, Left members did not attend the meeting. Trinamul had also withdrawn support from the board which is why, the mayor, could not get the budget passed
Today, the Trinamul councillors did not relent and many repeated Pal’s question.
This went on for about an hour after which Pal announced that they would walk out of the meeting.
“Now that you are not answering us and reading out the budget on instructions from the Left councillors, we find no point in listening to the speech. Further, we had rejected the budget on March 25 and there is no point of hearing it again,” Pal said.
The mayor said: “We have appealed to all councillors to support the budget…. What the councillors will do is their prerogative.”
As of now, there are 14 Trinamul councillors, 15 Congress councillors and 17 from the Left in the 47-ward SMC. Two seats are vacant.