Other States

Mamata govt. accepts CPI(M) demand, drops TMC councillors from Siliguri Municipal Corporation BOA

Asok Bhattacharya

Asok Bhattacharya  

The 12-member BOA has seven members from the Left parties and five from the Trinamool Congress

The West Bengal government on Saturday went a step further to placate senior Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Asok Bhattacharya by dropping the names of five Trinamool Congress from the Board of Administrators (BOA) for Siliguri Municipal Corporation (SMC).

The State government on May 15 appointed Mr. Bhattacharya, former Mayor of the SMC, as the administrator of the civic body. The 12-member BOA has seven members from the Left parties, including chairman Mr. Bhattacharya, and five from the Trinamool Congress. The term of the elected board of the SMC, the biggest civic body of Bengal after the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC), is likely to end on May 17. Elections to several civic bodies of the State, including the SMC, have been postponed because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

After the notification Mr. Bhattacharya raised objections on the inclusion of TMC councillors and refused to take up the post. On Saturday, the State government issued a fresh notification dropping the name of Trinamool Congress councillors from the BOA.

The CPI(M) leader welcomed the development and said that the State government had to change its stand under public pressure. “I spoke to CPI(M) State Secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra about the development. I will take up the responsibility (as an administrator) as early as I can,” Mr. Bhattacharya said.

The appointment of a CPI(M) leader as an administrator is set to have major ramifications. The SMC is the only civic body in the State to be administered by the Opposition and the move to appoint Mr. Bhattacharya, who administered the civic body as its Mayor, comes as a surprise in political circles. Mr. Bhattacharya, a veteran CPI(M) leader, is a key face of the party in north Bengal and served in the Left Front government’s Cabinet.

What makes matters more interesting is that the CPI(M) leader was instrumental in keeping the SMC out of reach of the Trinamool Congress by allying with the Congress. The alliance between the Left and the Congress at the civic body also served as the basis of a larger political understanding between the Congress and the Left parties across the State in the Assembly and the Lok Sabha polls.

In the first week of May, the West Bengal government appointed a BoA to supervise the functioning of the KMC, with the five-year term of its current elected members ending on May 7. On expected lines KMC’s Mayor Firhad Hakim was made chairman of the board, a move that was criticised by the Opposition, including the Left parties.

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Printable version | May 29, 2020 12:37:02 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/mamata-govt-accepts-cpim-demand-drops-tmc-councillors-from-siliguri-municipal-corporation-boa/article31605907.ece

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