Monday, 30th October 2017

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TMC takes back Bhatpara board

BJP worried over impact of municipality’s loss on Assembly elections

By Subhasish Chaudhuri in Bhatpara
  • Published 8.01.20, 12:27 AM
  • Updated 8.01.20, 12:27 AM
  • 2 mins read
Trinamul supporters celebrate after the no-trust motion in Bhatpara on Tuesday. Picture by Pranab Biswas

The Trinamul Congress on Tuesday regained control of the Bhatpara municipality in North 24-Parganas, winning 19-0 the voting on the no-confidence motion brought by it against the fledgling BJP-led board.

The BJP, party sources said, is likely to move the Supreme Court against the motion.

On January 2, Calcutta High Court had quashed another round of voting on the no-confidence motion against the BJP board headed by chairman Sourav Singh. Trinamul had won that vote too.

Responding to a petition by three Trinamul councillors, who had challenged the order, a division bench on Monday ordered the district administration to arrange a fresh floor test under the supervision of a representative of the state election commission.

A meeting was held on Tuesday in which the 19 Trinamul councillors out of a total of 33 councillors voted in favour of the motion. The remaining 14 councillors, from Trinamul, the BJP and the CPM, abstained from voting.

With the victory, Trinamul returned to the helm of the municipality after seven months of BJP rule. After the Lok Sabha elections, 26 Trinamul councillors had defected to the BJP, giving the Opposition party control of Bhatpara municipality. Most of them have since returned to Trinamul.

Trinamul has now regained control of all the six civic bodies in North 24-Parganas that had been taken over by the BJP, the others being Kanchrapara, Halisahar, Naihati, Garulia and Bongaon.

Trinamul’s North 24-Parganas district president and minister Jyotipriya Mullick said on Tuesday: “The BJP had taken control of the (Bhatpara) civic body using muscle power. They had unleashed terror and forced our councillors to leave the party. The councillors had been eagerly waiting to return. But the BJP was deliberately trying to buy time to remain in power in an unethical manner. Calcutta High Court has foiled the attempt.”

“The BJP may move the Supreme Court, but it’s attempt will not succeed as we have already filed a caveat there apprehending such a possibility,” Mullick added.

The municipality has 35 wards. Two wards fell vacant because of the death of councillor Bhim Singh and the resignation of now-BJP MP Arjun Singh.

Trinamul councillor Manoj Guha said: “It is a historic day as we have been finally able to free all the civic bodies from the unholy control of the BJP.”

The turn of events is a setback for Arjun, a local strongman who defected to the BJP from Trinamul and has now become the Barrackpore MP.

A senior BJP leader in Calcutta said the developments were an “embarrassment” for the party, adding that it could have an impact on the 2021 Assembly elections. “North 24-Parganas is a vital district with 33 Assembly seats. Such a reversal will definitely have a fallout on the party’s influence in the coming days in the district,” the leader said.