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BJP grabs Bhatpara civic board

Bhatpara is the first civic body the BJP has taken over from Trinamul after general election results were announced

  • Published 5.06.19, 1:15 AM
  • Updated 5.06.19, 1:15 AM
  • 2 mins read
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New Bhatpara civic chief Saurabh Singh (Pranab Kr Biswas)

The BJP on Tuesday took over the Bhatpara municipality by defeating the Trinamul Congress’s acting chairman in a no-confidence vote and electing Barrackpore BJP MP Arjun Singh’s nephew as the new civic chief.

Bhatpara, 33km north of Calcutta, is the first civic body the BJP has taken over from Trinamul after the results of the general election were out on May 23.

In the 35-member board, Trinamul’s acting chairman Somnath Talukdar was trounced by a margin of six votes in the no-trust motion. The current strength of councillors is 32 and 26 of them supported the motion.

Saurabh Singh is the new municipal chairman. He is the nephew of Arjun Singh who was the chairman till he defected to the BJP in March. Arjun has defeated Trinamul’s Dinesh Trivedi in the Barrackpore Lok Sabha seat.

Earlier, the BJP had taken over Kowgachi 1 gram panchayat in Barrackpore, barely 15km away.

“The fact that Arjun Singh is the most powerful leader in the area has been proved beyond doubt,” said a senior official of the North 24-Parganas district.

On May 28, a battery of 63 Trinamul councillors of Bhatpara, Halisahara, Naihati and Kanchrapara municipalities switched to the BJP at a programme in New Delhi.

Amid a war of words between the two parties over the defection, the Bengal government had somehow managed to resist the takeover of the Naihati municipality by placing an administrator on June 1. “But the same cannot be done for Bhatpara as it went the BJP way,” said a Trinamul leader.

Bhatpara is one of the oldest civic bodies in the Barrackpore Lok Sabha constituency.

“None of the councillors in Bhatpara was elected as BJP representatives. It’s unfortunate they fell to money and muscle powers,” said Jyoti Priya Mullick, food and civil supplies minister and Trinamul’s North 24-Parganas district president.

Bhatpara’s fall is a blow to the morale of Trinamul workers who have been moving in and out of their homes in the face of alleged threats from the BJP. The takeover of the Bhatpara municipal board by the BJP will possibly make way for similar other switchovers at other towns in the coming weeks, senior party leaders in North 24-Parganas said.

“We would like to showcase the BJP’s strength to chief minister Mamata Banerjee when she visits Kanchrapara on June 14,” said a BJP worker. “Arjun Singh has already shown his might. He would continue to do so. It’s just the beginning.”