Siliguri, June 30: Congress MLA Sankar Malakar today resigned from the Siliguri Jalpaiguri Development Authority board on the instruction of state party president Adhir Chowdhury who found it inappropriate for the legislator to continue in the post when the party was organising a movement against an alleged financial scam in the authority.
The MLA was included in the SJDA board after Mamata Banerjee formed the government in 2011. He continued to remain in the post although the Congress had severed ties with Trinamul in 2012.
Malakar, also the Darjeeling district Congress president, submitted his resignation to the chief executive officer of the SJDA, R. Vimala, around 2pm today. “I was included in the SJDA board by the state government. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have become the board member as I don’t hanker after any post. I stepped down from the SJDA board according to the instruction of the PCC president. He told me that as the Congress is organising a movement against the scam in the SJDA, it would be inappropriate on my part to continue as the board member,” said the Matigara-Naxalbari MLA.
Sources in the Congress said Malakar’s role as the SJDA board member had come under criticism in party forums.
“Even though all Congress leaders who were in different posts stepped down after the party had severed ties with Trinamul, our district president continued to remain in the SJDA board. The matter was discussed in the party many times and taken up with state leaders,” said a Congress insider.
“Dissent within the party grew stronger when the Rs 60 crore financial scam was reported in the SJDA in April last year. Even as the Congress was spearheading an agitation against the SJDA, Malakar was a member of the board. He was also summoned for interrogation by police officers investigating the scam, which maligned the party’s image,” added the source.
However, the Congress MLA was forced to change his decision when district Congress leaders raised the issue before Adhir during his visit to Siliguri yesterday.
“Senior Congress members clarified the situation before the PCC president, who instructed the district president not to cling to the post any longer and tender his resignation immediately,” said a party leader.
“Adhir also expressed discontent over Malakar’s role in the Siliguri Municipal Corporation issue. Although the PCC chief had instructed Malakar to dissolve the SMC, he didn’t convey the matter to mayor Gangotri Datta for a week,” he added.
Told about Malakar’s resignation, north Bengal development minister and SJDA chairman Gautam Deb said: “Why was there a delay on his part to tender the resignation?” I have learnt that he had done it after being directed to do so by Congress leaders. It is an internal matter of his party and we have nothing to comment on it.”