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Mayor polls not held, SMC writes to state

Siliguri, June 16: The Siliguri Municipal Corporation commissioner today wrote to the municipal affairs department stating that the mayoral poll scheduled for today could not be held as no councillor had filed nomination.

“The last date for filing nominations was June 14 and the polls were supposed to be held today,” said SMC commissioner S.W. Bhutia. “As no councillor filed nomination for the post, the elections were not held today. We have drafted an elaborate letter mentioning all details. It has been sent to the municipal affairs department with a request for necessary instructions,” he said.

In the 47-ward civic body, the Left Front has 18 councillors, the Congress has 14 and Trinamul has 15 members.

With no elections taking place, the civic body is likely to go to the hands of an administrator to be appointed by the state government.

“Right now, the state has two options. It can nominate a councillor as mayor or depute an administrator. It is unlikely that the state would take the first option as Trinamul lacks majority at the SMC. Also, the tenure of the nominated mayor cannot be more than three months as the civic elections are due in September,” said an observer.

“A nominated mayor who lacks majority would face similar hurdles that Gangotri Datta (the former mayor) had to face while conducting meetings, other day-to-day affairs and passing resolutions . There is hardly any chance that the nominated mayor, who would be from Trinamul, will have the support of the Left Front or the Congress. Deputing an administrator is a better option for the state government at this point,” he added.

Today, the district leaders of the BJP and party workers demonstrated near the SMC building demanding municipal polls on time.

“Trinamul fears bad performance in the SMC elections, particularly after seeing the results in the Siliguri Assembly segment in the recently held Lok Sabha polls. The party is trying to delay the civic polls as it is aware that the BJP is ahead in 21 of the 47 wards in the SMC. We want the elections according to the schedule,” Rathindra Bose, the Darjeeling district BJP president said.

“We have also demanded that the civic body open a helpline. Once an administrator is deputed, the councillors would have little options. In case the residents face any problem, there has to be a facility which should be introduced to hear them out,” Bose said.