The Trinamool Congress on Wednesday regained control over the Naihati municipality in North 24 Parganas district from the BJP after registering a victory in the trust vote. TMC registered a 24-0 victory in the 31-member municipality. The remaining seven councillors refrained from voting.
Following 2019 Lok Sabha polls, 18 out of the 31 TMC councillors of the civic body, including its vice-chairman, had joined the BJP, giving the party the control over it.
However, within two months, 10 of the 18 councillors rejoined TMC. Following this, the TMC’s strength in the civic body became 23. Later, one more councillor joined the ruling party, increasing its strength to 24.
TMC’s North 24 Parganas district president Jyotipriya Mullick said, “The BJP had put pressure on our councillors to join the saffron party after the Lok Sabha polls. Now those councillors have realised their mistake and returned to the party. Rest of them will also come back to us soon.”
Reacting to the development, West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh said, “Next year there will be elections in these civic bodies, and we will win. Those who had come to us had returned because of money and muscle power of the TMC. This is just the beginning of the end for TMC and soon they will lose these civic bodies.”
The state government had in May appointed an administrator to oversee affairs of the civic body.
Reacting to the development in Naihati municipality, senior BJP leader Mukul Roy, who had played a key role in the defections, accused TMC of using both political and administrative powers to force the councillors to rejoin the party.
“They (the councillors) had joined BJP as they were fed up with the functioning of TMC. Since then they were being threatened by the police and goons. The TMC forced them to rejoin it. It has done the same in other municipal bodies too,” he added.
According to state BJP sources, the party is miffed with the developments and feels that taking leaders of TMC and other parties without background check into its fold had led to the embarrassing situation.
Since the Lok Sabha polls earlier this year the BJP had taken effective control of seven municipal bodies, including Naihati, with a majority of the councillors of the civic bodies joining the BJP.
However, in the last two months except for Bhatpara municipality, which is BJP MP Arjun Singh’s stronghold, all the six other municipal bodies have returned to the TMC’s control.
(With PTI inputs)