Calcutta, Nov. 21: Trinamul today took control of the civic bodies in Burdwan’s Asansol and Pujali in South 24-Parganas after Congress councillors joined the party.
The switchover comes on the eve of five other civic bodies going to the polls. Trinamul’s takeover of the Pujali municipality from the Congress this evening is the eighth such in the past six months.
“Trinamul’s timing of taking control of the civic bodies in Asansol and Pujali is expected to send a positive message about the party gaining in strength even hours before polls are to be held in five municipalities,” a Trinamul vice-president said today in Calcutta.
In the 50-member Asansol board, the Trinamul and Congress combine had been at the helm, with 19 and 12 councillors, respectively. The Left was in the Opposition with 18 councillors. One of the board members has died. But the defection of seven Congress councillors in Calcutta today helped Trinamul gain majority with 26 councillors.
In the 15-member Pujali municipality, the Congress had nine councillors. Trinamul had five councillors and the CPM, one. Trinamul snatched the civic body from the Congress when municipality chairman Fazlur Haque defected with eight other colleagues at Trinamul Bhavan in the presence of Trinamul all-India general secretary Mukul Roy.
“We joined Trinamul to strengthen chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s team and carry on her development agenda for Bengal,” Haque said after joining Trinamul.
Besides Asansol and Pujali, Trinamul also roped in four Congress councillors from the 29-member Uluberia municipality during the day, raising its strength to 21.
“The spate of defection of Congress councillors and those from other parties to our party reflect people’s faith in Mamatadi,” Roy said at Trinamul Bhavan this afternoon.
PCC chief Pradip Bhattacharya today admitted that the leadership was worried at having to grapple with the multiple switchovers.
“The Congress workers’ switch to Trinamul in Asansol, Pujali and Uluberia in one day is shocking. We are still struggling to come to terms with Trinamul taking control of so many of our municipalities in the past three months,” Bhattacharya said.
Asansol was the first muncipal corporation that Trinamul took over during the day. Bengal has six municipal corporations.
Rabiul Islam, the Congress district general secretary of Burdwan and one of the seven councillors who defected to Trinamul, said they had joined Trinamul to protest the leadership’s “lacunae in instilling confidence among party workers” when people are deserting the organisation.
“The state leadership is sitting idle when people are deserting the organisation to protest its lacunae. It has failed to instil confidence among those who are now switching to Trinamul,” he alleged.