NBS Times Report
Siliguri, March 13: The ongoing chaos in Siliguri Municipal Corporation further complicated after the TMC candidate won the election for the vacant post of the chairman as the mayor removed the responsibility of deputy mayor and mayors-in-council with immediate effect.
Today, Nantu Paul the former chairman - who was defeated in no confidence vote on February 14 - got 15 votes of TMC councillors while the 14 councillors of the Congress and the 17 of the Left Front abstained from the meeting convened to hold the election for the vacant post of the chairman.
Though the Congress had also fielded its candidate, today the party decided not to attend the meeting convened to hold the election. The Left Front had already decided that it would not be a party to the ‘immoral’ election.
In the absence of the Congress and the Left Front councillors, the election for the vacant post of the chairman was held through secret ballot in which Paul was declared elected.
Both the Congress and the Left Front have termed the election as illegal and unconstitutional and have decided to move to Calcutta High Court.
Shankar Malakar the Congress Darjeeling district president said, “The election was illegal as the meeting convened by the SMC commissioner did not meet the requisite quorum. “At least the presence of 16 councillors was required to meet the quorum, Malakar said.” Today only 15 TMC councillors were present. The SMC has 47 councillors and its one third is the presence of 16 councillors.
Malakar said, “It was illegal and unconstitutional to conduct the meeting when the requisite quorum was not met.”
Nantu Paul was elected as the councillor on the Congress ticket and became the SMC chairman. But, he left the Congress and joined the TMC on September 26 and continued to become the chairman while both the Congress and the Left Front demanded his removal from the post of the chairman under anti-defection law.
A no trust vote was held on February 14 and Paul was removed from the chairman’s post after he was defeated.
Asok Bhattacharya a senior CPI (M) leader and former municipal affairs minister accused the chief minister, Mamata Banerjee of masterminding today’s plot. Bhattacharya said, “The election of the chairman today was illegal and unconstitutional as the election meeting did not meet the quorum.”
Bhattacharya said, “ The state government by using the state machinery has plotted in the SMC The Left Front would go to the court to challenge the election, he said.
He also accused the SMC commissioner P D Pradhan and ADM Tapan Burman for acting under the instruction of the government. “The two officers allowed the illegal election to be held and administered the oath of allegiance to illegally elected chairman, ” Bhattacharya said.
Immediately after the election, Gangotri Datta the Congress mayor exercised the power conferred upon her under section 20 (C) of West Bengal Municipal Corporation Act 2006 and removed the responsibility of deputy mayor mayors-in-council.
Mukul Roy the TMC general secretary said, “The election for the post of chairman today was held legally.”