TROUBLE IS brewing for former Trinamool Congress minister Krishnendu Chowdhury. The chairman of Malda Municipal Corporation, Chowdhury is facing rebellion from councillors of his own party. Accusing him of “high-handedness”, eight councillors had earlier this month resigned from the council, demanding that Chowdhury be removed from the top post.
While Trinamool has already served a notice to Chowdhury asking him to step down, he has refused to do so. Now, the party councillors are set to initiate a no-confidence motion against Chowdhury on Wednesday.
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When contacted, Trinamool’s Malda district president Moazzam Hussain said: “For some time now, the councillors have been complaining that Krishnendu doesn’t allow them to work in their constituencies. They have also accused him of consistently behaving badly with them. While the councillors have resigned from the municipal council, they still hold the posts of councillors and are members of the party.’’
“We have already served Krishnendu a notice from the party asking him to step down. He has so far not obliged. Tomorrow, we will bring a no-confidence motion against him. We will then initiate action against Krishnendu for his suspension him from the party,” he said, adding that the move had Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s backing.
What tipped the balance in favour of the councilors is that Independent MLA from English Bazaar in Malda and Chowdhury’s long-time rival Nihar Ghosh, has promised to join Trinamool on the condition that Chowdhury be removed.
In the 15-member council, with eight Trinamool councillors, while TMC already has a majority, getting Ghosh on board would strengthen the party’s position in Malda — which has largely remained a Congress stronghold. Ghosh’s wife is also an Independent councillor on the council. “We had approached Ghosh and he has agreed to join us. But he has one condition — that Krishnendu be removed,” said Hossain.
Ghosh had fought the 2016 Assembly elections as an Independent but with the support of the CPM-Congress alliance.
But aides close to Ghosh said that while the leader has been traditionally close to the Left, his primary goal has been the defeat and removal of Krishnendu Chowdhury. Chowdhury’s clout in the area had taken a beating when he failed to muster a crowd of supporters to fill a stadium from where Mamata was to start her campaign for the state polls.
This had prompted Mamata to delay her rally twice before finally arriving to address the gathering.
Chowdhury himself was defeated by Ghosh in the elections by over 40,000 votes. Mamata, at the time, had expressed her displeasure on the way things were being run in Malda and warned of “stern action” against infighting, which had taken hold of the party in the district. Despite Trinamool’s landslide victory in the elections, it failed to secure even a single seat in Malda.
Despite repeated attempts, Chowdhury was not available for comment.