Siliguri, Sept. 25: Left and Trinamul councillors today walked out before the SMC budget vote.
Trinamul later said the budget vote was done without quorum — the presence of one-third members — and was illegal. The Left refused comment.
The budget, which was rejected at the civic body on March 25 after Trinamul councillors voted against it, was placed by mayor Gangotri Datta for the second time on September 23. It was notified to the councillors that discussions on the budget would be held today before voting.
Around 3.40pm, when the second session commenced, mayor Datta made her reply to the budget. It was attended by all 14 councillors of Congress, all 17 Left councillors and 13 of Trinamul, whose strength was depleted as minister Gautam Deb was not present in the session.
As the speech concluded at around 4.10pm, Nurul Islam, the leader of Opposition, stood up. “We have found that none of our recommendations have been incorporated. We find no point in attending this session,” he said. All 17 Left councillors walked out.
As they left, Sabita Devi Agarwal, the acting chairperson, announced that a vote on the budget would be conducted by secret ballot. Trinamul councillors realised the Congress would win and asked for an hour’s time. But Agarwal was adamant. All the Trinamul members walked out. After about 30 minutes, Agarwal announced the budget had been passed with all 14 votes in support of it.