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regular-article-logo Thursday, 25 July 2024

Trinamul Congress councillors defy party diktat at two civic bodies

Chaos and ruckus marked the elections of chairpersons of East Burdwan’s Kalna and West Midnapore’s Kharar municipalities

Snehamoy Chakraborty, Anshuman Phadikar Bolpur/ Tamluk Published 17.03.22, 12:20 AM
A Trinamul councillor tries to jump from the two-storey Kalna municipality headquarters on Wednesday.

A Trinamul councillor tries to jump from the two-storey Kalna municipality headquarters on Wednesday. Dip Das

Trinamul councillors of two Bengal municipalities elected chairpersons by voting against official nominees of the party on Wednesday during the formation of civic boards.

Chaos and ruckus marked the elections of chairpersons of East Burdwan’s Kalna and West Midnapore’s Kharar municipalities as soon as names of the Trinamul’s official nominee were proposed at both. Several councillors opposed the names and demanded a vote to elect chairpersons. In both, the official nominee lost.

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Trinamul sources said they had already sent names of proposed chairpersons and vice-chairpersons for most of the 106 civic bodies in closed envelopes and all district leaders were asked to accept the candidates without dispute. On Wednesday, boards were formed in at least 40 civic bodies and the rest would be formed soon, said sources.

However, the defiance at Kalna and Kharar has embarrassed the ruling party.

“Names for the posts of chairpersons and vice-chairpersons were sent by the state leadership. The names were selected after discussions with senior leaders in the districts and assessment of the persons’ track records. The incidents that happened in Kalna and Kharar municipalities have embarrassed the party but stand out as exceptions,” said a Trinamul leader.

At Kalna, the party had nominated Ananda Dutta as chairperson and Tapan Porel as vice-chairperson. Here, Trinamul had won 17 seats and the CPM one. As soon as the name of Dutta was proposed, another councillor proposed the name of Porel as the chairperson.

“Under rules, this required a secret ballot and hence the subdivisional officer of Kalna ordered it,” said a senior district official.

The secret ballot went in favour of Porel. He got 12 votes and official nominee Ananda Dutta got only four.

A group of Trinamul leaders headed by Trinamul’s East Burdwan youth president Alok Majhi demanded Dutta be named chairperson which led to a ruckus. Several councillors kicked on the door of the room where the election was being conducted. One of them tried to jump from the first floor following heated exchanges in front of party’s Purbasthali MLA and minister Swapan Debnath.

“It was Mamata Banerjee’s proposal to select the official nominee as chairperson and that should have happened. I had spoken to all councillors who agreed on the name but then (some) opposed it during the meeting. Such a meeting on the chairman’s selection needs to be cancelled,” said minister Debnath.

In the evening, East Burdwan district magistrate Priyanka Singla issued a notification cancelling the first meeting to select the chairperson citing the law-and-order situation. However, the councillors who had voted against Dutta claimed it was unethical and illegal to cancel the first meeting like this.

Trinamul later suspended Porel.

At Kharar, Trinamul had won eight seats and the rest two had gone to the BJP. The Trinamul’s directive was to select Sanyasi Dolui as the chairperson, but on Wednesday an alternative name of Adyut Mondal was proposed.

All the 10 councillors of Kharar took part in the election that defeated Dolui. Even the two BJP councillors voted in Mondal’s favour.

“This was a complete violation of the party’s whip and the person who was elected as chairperson got votes of the BJP councillors. The party will take action,” said Ashish Hudait, the Trinamul president of Ghatal organisation district under which Kharar falls.

Mondal said he was a Trinamul worker and had won the support of the majority.

Trinamul insiders said there were several municipalities where the ire against official candidates did not come out openly, but the discontent was covert.

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