Date set for Paul motion

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By OUR CORRESPONDENT
  • Published 5.02.13
  •  

Siliguri, Feb. 4: The no-trust motion moved by the Left Front against Siliguri Municipal Corporation chairman Nantu Paul will be taken up on February 14.

The Trinamul Congress has decided not to challenge the high court order that asked the authorities of the SMC to convene a meeting on Monday to take up the no-confidence motion moved by the Left Front against Paul.

The SMC commissioner, P.D. Pradhan, today issued a notification saying a meeting would be held on February 14 to vote on the motion.

Although the Congress said it would take a decision on supporting the motion two days ahead of the February 14 meeting, sources said the party would vote against Paul.

In that case, the motion will be passed as the Congress and the Left together have 31 votes in the 47-member civic board.

The single-judge bench of Justice Jayanta Biswas had on Friday directed the SMC authorities to take up the no-trust motion today on a petition filed by all 17 Left councillors.

The no-confidence motion was moved after Paul had quit the Congress and joined Trinamul in September last year.

Today, 14 of 15 Trinamul councillors met under the leadership of north Bengal development minister Gautam Deb and decided not to appeal to the division bench to “honour” the single judge’s order.

“We could have gone for an appeal to the division bench but desisted from doing so in order to honour the judgment of the single bench,” Deb told journalists after the meeting.

Deb is also a councillor at the SMC.

The Opposition Left had said Paul’s defection from the Congress to Trinamul on September 27 was illegal. The Left wrote to the SMC commissioner to convene a meeting to move the no-trust motion against the chairman. The Opposition also approached the state municipal affairs department with the same plea.

“As there was no other option left, we moved the high court and the single-judge bench delivered a verdict in our favour. This has been a victory of democracy. The civic body authorities and the state government were wrong all this while in not taking up the no-trust motion,” said Nurul Islam, the leader of Opposition at the SMC and a CPM councillor.

He said the Left would not field a candidate for the post of the chairman if Paul was removed.

“With only 17 councillors, we don’t have a majority. The combined strength of the Congress and Trinamul is 29.”

Shankar Malakar, the Darjeeling district Congress president, said: “We will convene a party meeting two days ahead of the no-trust motion and take a decision on the question of voting in favour of the no-trust motion.”

Congress sources, however, said the decision at the meeting would be to vote against Paul. “We don’t want Paul to continue as the chairman. So all Congress councillors will vote against Paul,” said the Congress source.

Paul today claimed he had not called a meeting for the no-trust motion as it was not clearly mentioned in the West Bengal Municipal Corporation Act, 2006, that the chairman should call the session.