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Darjeeling: Calcutta HC rejects HP petition, floor test on December 28

According to the municipal act, the chairman has to convene a meeting within 15 days after receiving the letter, which he ignored, says Amar Lama

Our Correspondent Siliguri Published 27.12.22, 04:23 AM
The Darjeeling municipality headquarters.

The Darjeeling municipality headquarters. File picture

Ritesh Portel, the chairman of the Hamro Party-led Darjeeling municipality, has been instructed by the subdivisional officer to prove his majority on December 28.

The SDO gave the instruction after Calcutta High Court on Monday dismissed the HP’s writ petition for the postponement of the floor test.

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The HP headed by Ajoy Edwards had bagged 18 seats in the 32-member civic body in the elections held earlier this year. The HP formed the board in due course.

However, a few weeks ago, six HP councillors defected to Anit Thapa’s Bharatiya Gorkha Prajatantrik Morcha (BGPM), which increased its tally to 14. Two Trinamul Congress councillors also announced their support to the BGPM.

Soon after the civic elections, a seat became vacant following the resignation of a councillor to contest the polls to the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration.

With the BGPM having 16 councillors’ support and the HP’s tally being reduced to 12 at the 31-member board, Thapa’s party staked a claim to form the board.

BGPM general secretary Amar Lama said the party had requested the chairman in writing on November 28 to call a special meeting of the board and face a floor test to prove his majority.

“According to the municipal act, the chairman has to convene a meeting within 15 days after receiving the letter, which he ignored. We then wrote to the vice-chairman and he didn’t call a meeting within seven days either,” said Lama.

Then, three BGPM councillors submitted another letter to Portel for a special meeting.

“But this time, the chairman filed a writ petition in Calcutta High Court, seeking interim relief from the floor test. But the court dismissed it today. So, the meeting for the floor test would be held on December 28,” said Lama, whose party is in power at the GTA as well.

HP leaders have slammed the BGPM without naming the party.

“The Opposition in the hills is crushed in a ruthless manner by attacking the institution that was democratically formed,” said a senior functionary of the HP.

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