June 30: The Congress chairman of the Jalpaiguri municipality, Mohan Bose, and seven party councillors today joined the Trinamul Congress in Calcutta.
In the 25-member civic body, the Congress’s strength was 16, while the Left Front had eight councillors and Trinamul one. With the defection of Bose and the seven, the Trinamul tally has reached nine and the Congress’s strength has come down to eight.
“None of the parties has the absolute majority of 13 seats in the Jalpaiguri municipality. It seems that Bose will continue to remain the chairman as the Congress and Left are unlikely to table a no-confidence jointly against him,” said an observer.
Bose and the seven councillors joined Trinamul in the presence of party general secretary Mukul Roy and Sourav Chakraborty, the Jalpaiguri district president of the party.
“We took the decision to join Trinamul as we were disappointed with certain activities of the Congress and some of its leaders. We are confident that our decision will help in the development of Jalpaiguri,” Bose said over the phone from Calcutta.
The seven councillors who switched to Trinamul are Sushil Singh, Rani Mahato, Rinku Bose, Prosenjit Saha, Tapan Banerjee, Joyprakash Sha and Nirupama Roy.
Sources have said Sourav Chakraborty, who is close to Mukul Roy, was instrumental in bringing the eight Congress councillors to Trinamul.
Now that Bose has joined Trinamul, the party is in control of all three municipalities in Jalpaiguri district. Dhupguri and Malbazar are the other two civic bodies where Trinamul is in power.
Bose said the state municipal affairs department would sanction Rs 5 crore for the development of Jalpaiguri town. “We will receive Rs 5 crore from the state government. It would be utilised for the development of Jalpaiguri town and we will soon chalk out development plans,” he said.
Trinamul leaders in Jalpaiguri welcomed Bose’s defection and said some more Congress councillors would follow suit.
“We are in talks with some of the remaining Congress councillors. They will soon join Trinamul and the party’s tally will increase in the municipality,” said a Trinamul leader.
The Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee president, Adhir Chowdhury, who was in Jalpaiguri today, said the lure of money had taken the eight councillors to Trinamul.
“The municipal chairman and the seven councillors left the Congress after there had been a transaction of a good amount of money between them and Trinamul,” he said.