Old Malda municipality building. Picture by Surajit Roy
Malda, March 26: The Left Front-run Old Malda municipality board was voted out by the Trinamul Congress during a meeting that was convened today after a no-confidence motion had been tabled against it last month.
In the 2010 elections, the CPM had won 10 seats, the RSP got two and the Congress bagged six seats in the 18-ward municipality.
The Left had formed the board with the CPM’s Biswanath Sukul as the chairman and the RSP’s Rumi Ahmed as the vice-chairman.
In November last year, the six Congress councillors joined Trinamul and on February 27, they, along with one RSP councillor, brought a no-confidence motion against the Left board alleging nepotism and corruption. Trinamul leader of the Opposition Bibhuti Ghosh said the chairman ignored the motion. “According to municipality rules, the chairman should convene a meeting (to discuss the motion) in 15 days of getting the no-confidence letter. After that, the vice-chairman is given seven days to call the meeting. If that is not done, the Opposition is empowered to call a requisition meeting with a three-days’ notice. In today’s requisition meeting, 10 of the 18 councillors were present.”
Three CPM councillors also supported Trinamul in the voting process today. Six Trinamul councillors, including Ghosh, and four from the Left who claimed that they were with the ruling party, were present at the requisition meeting today. Ghosh chaired the session and with the consent of the 10 councillors, the board led by the Left Front was voted out. The eight Left councillors stayed away from the meeting.
“We have written to the municipal affairs department to remove the chairman and the vice-chairman and form a new board. It will be done in seven days,” Ghosh said.
RSP councillor Shyamal Mondal, who attended the meeting, said: “I and three CPM councillors had been complaining to our parties about the chairman’s corruption. But we were not being heard. We decided to join Trinamul for the sake of removing nepotism and corruption.”
Ghosh said Sukul was involved in rampant corruption. “We have an ongoing water project whose cost has escalated from Rs 22 crore to Rs 32 crore. Huge sums are being defalcated by issuing false bills. We and four Left councillors, who joined us, toppled the board in the interest of development.”
Sukul denied the charges. “If there were charges of corruption against me, they should have been discussed within the party. We will bring anti-defection charges against three of our members,” he said.
Amvar Mitra, the CPM district secretary, said Trinamul had used “unfair” means to wrest the Old Malda municipality. “Trinamul has bought three of our members with cash,” he said.