The sudden resignation of chairman-in-council (health) Gita Nandi caused a flutter in the CPM-controlled South Dum Dum Municipality on Sunday.
Nandi, who submitted her papers to municipality chairman Sreehir Bhattacharjee, complained that political interference and the high-handedness of certain functionaries in the municipality had made it difficult for her to discharge her duties.
“I have stopped working as chairman-in-council from today. I have also decided not to accept any allowance or facilities, which I have enjoyed while being in charge of the civic body’s health portfolio. I decided to quit because I was not allowed to work freely and independently,” complained Nandi on Sunday. “I am really frustrated with the way the civic body functions and I had expressed my displeasure to the chairman a few months ago. I had also informed him of the problems I was facing. But neither the chairman nor any of my colleagues has bothered to listen to my problems.”
Chairman Bhattacharjee is unwell and did not comment on Nandi’s resignation.
CPM sources said the North 24-Parganas district unit of the party will discuss the issue. Sources in the municipality confirmed that Nandi had earlier threatened to quit the civic body. “She did not attend the pulse polio immunisation programme during the day, though it has been held by her department,” pointed out a senior official.
Sources in the municipality, however, said that Nandi, though elected on a CPM ticket, was quite close to councillors in the Opposition. Admitting her proximity with the Congress councillors, Nandi said: “The Opposition councillors have cooperated with me and given me good advice. I have never received this from my party councillors, which is certainly regrettable.”
It is also learnt that several Congress councillors were aware of her resignation much before she put in her papers.
A number of CPM councillors in the municipality had questioned Nandi’s loyalty to the party. Some of them were displeased with her, as she would consult the Opposition party councillors on vital issues related to the civic body.
“Nandi had threatened to give up the post several times before. But this time, she was serious. She would often skip meetings of the chairman-in-council. In the past four years, she has hardly attended three or four meetings,” alleged a councillor, on condition of anonymity.
Nandi, however, did not deny the allegations levelled against her by some of her party colleagues. “I told you specifically that I have resigned because I was not allowed to work freely. As head of the health portfolio, I had certain plans which I wanted to implement. But I was not allowed to work according to my free will,” she replied.