Calcutta, Oct. 16: The state Congress leadership has asked party presidents of the five districts where it runs civic bodies to “keep a watch” on its councillors, the decision prompted by Trinamul taking control of Congress-run municipalities because of defections.
The Congress’s move comes a day after all 14 party councillors of the Krishnagar municipality, including its chairman, switched to Trinamul, enabling the ruling party to take control of the civic body.
Sources said Trinamul had bagged five Congress-run civic boards in the past six months, “engineering” defections.
The five civic bodies the Congress runs are Coopers’ Camp in Nadia, Dalkhola in North Dinajpur, Haldibari in Cooch Behar, Kharagpur in West Midnapore and Behrampore in Murshidabad.
“This is part of our strategy to avert a split in anti-Left votes before the Lok Sabha elections next year,” a Trinamul general secretary said.
Asked if there was a “fear psychosis” in the party, state Congress president Pradip Bhattacharya said: “We have asked our district chiefs to keep a watch on Congress councillors to prevent defections to Trinamul.”
Congress sources in Nadia said Trinamul was trying to woo six of the 11 Congress councillors in Coopers’ Camp to take control of the 12-member board.
“I have information that Trinamul has made overtures to some of our party councillors in Coopers’ Camp to engineer defections. The ruling party’s unethical move is aimed at taking control of the civic board,” Nadia Congress president Shankar Singh said this afternoon.
Nadia Trinamul chief Gouri Shankar Dutta said some Congress councillors in Coopers’ Camp were “in touch with us”.
According to a Trinamul general secretary, the ruling party was planning to “wipe out the Congress from Bengal before the Lok Sabha polls”.
Congress sources said party general secretaries overseeing the five districts where the Congress is at the helm of civic bodies had been asked to regularly visit the offices and listen to the grievances of councillors.