Councillors skip civic board meet
In what is being seen as an act of rebellion against mayor Sabyasachi Dutta, 25 councillors of the Trinamul Congress-led Bidhannagar Municipal corporation did not turn up for the board meeting on Monday, the first after the Lok Sabha polls got over.
Deputy mayor Tapas Chatterjee leads the group of absentee councillors, sources in the corporation said. Among them were Rajesh Chirimar, Nirmal Dutta, Sudhir Saha, Nilanjana Manna, Joydev Naskar and Anita Mondal. Mondal is on vacation out of town.
An erstwhile chairman of the Rajarhat Municipality during the Left Front regime, Chatterjeee told The Telegraph Salt Lake that the councillors did not attend the meeting as they had lost faith in Dutta and many of them had told him that he was not fit to be the mayor of the civic body.
“Sabyasachi Dutta is not toeing the party line. He is saying things that are harmful for the Trinamul Congress. No work in the corporation is getting done as he is constantly stopping us from working,” said Chatterjee.
He also blamed Dutta for not securing a lead from his ward for Trinamul Congress candidate Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar in the recent election.
“He is asking other party leaders like Sujit Bose and Jyotipriyo Mullick to resign from their ministerial posts as they could not ensure leads for the Trinamul Lok Sabha candidates in their constituencies. He has also not managed to give any lead in his ward. So he should quit first. I on the other hand have managed to get a lead of 5,000 votes from my ward for our candidate,” said Chatterjee.
On Monday, 16 councillors who are perceived to be close to the mayor were present at the corporation.
Several of the absentee councillors including Nirmal Dutta, Birendranath Biswas and Sudhir Saha met Chatterjee at Saha’s residence.
Asked why they chose to meet at a councillor’s residence rather than attend the official meeting, Chatterjee said that they had wanted to chart out their course of action.
“We decided to skip meetings as long as he (Dutta) is in the chair,” said Chatterjee.
The faction feud has spilled out in the open and on Wednesday only Birendranath Biswas, the mayoral council member in charge of water, was present at the corporation.
The 41-member board has 38 Trinamul councillors, two from the Left and one from the Congress. Twenty-three Trinamul councillors, along with one each from the Left and the Congress, were absent, sources said.
Dutta too was absent on Monday, citing fever as the reason.
He said that he had the support of enough number of councillors.
“Let Tapas Chatterjee remove me from my chair if he can,” he said on Wednesday.
“There is no reason to think that they (councillors) are against me. Most could not come as they are on vacation after campaigning actively for the candidates even in the districts in the run-up to the elections,” he said.
According to him, Chatterjee and others had turned against him as they were trying to violate the Municipal Corporation Act in Rajarhat to indulge in illegal construction.