In a setback to the BJP, the Trinamool Congress on Thursday retained its hold in the Bongaon municipality by winning the confidence motion that was brought in on the direction of the Calcutta High Court.
In the 22-member civic body, 13 TMC councillors and one Congress councillor expressed their trust on the Municipal Board Chairman Shankar Addhya. The BJP councillors, however, stayed away from the voting that was held at the office of North 24 Parganas District Magistrate on the High Court’s direction.
The BJP councillors had moved the Calcutta High Court against the July 16 vote of confidence at Bongaon municipality in which the TMC had retained the civic board, saying they were not allowed to enter the muncipal office building to take part in the voting. The High Court on August 26 ordered a fresh confidence vote within 12 days to decide the fate of the board chairman.
What does TMC’s win mean for the BJP
The BJP’s plan to make inroads into the Bengal civic bodies received a jolt on Thursday as it failed to win the Bongaon municipality. After the Lok Sabha polls, the party had managed to engineer defection in the TMC and subsequently, witnessed an exodus of TMC councillors to the BJP. However, the councillors soon started going back to the ruling party, ending the BJP hopes of getting hold of a large number of civic bodies. In Bongaon municipality, 11 TMC councillors had defected to the BJP, out of which four had returned to the TMC on August 8, handing out the majority to the ruling party.
“As per the direction of Calcutta High Court, the DM conducted the meeting. The no-confidence motion was rejected. No councillor voted for the no-trust motion,” Addhya said after the vote.
State Municipal Affairs Minister Firhad Hakim said, “Today’s vote proves that the BJP was trying to mislead the court and it wasted its time. People have reposed their faith in the leadership of CM Mamata Banerjee and this vote is a proof of that.”
Instead of taking part in the voting, a section of BJP councillors filed a petition in the Calcutta High Court alleging that the process did not follow the court’s orders passed on August 26, and was, therefore, illegal.
BJP leader and MLA Biswajit Das said, “The court had said the administration has to provide security to the councillors and they have to be brought to the DM’s office on the day of voting. However, the administration failed to comply with that order. Therefore, we moved the court.”
The BJP leader informed that the court heard their plea on Thursday and transferred the case for hearing to a regular bench.
State BJP president Dilip Ghosh said, “They have won with the help of muscle power and strong arm tactics. They have threatened those who had joined us to go back to them or face consequences. This is the reason why they have received their support.”
Bongaon municipality has 22 councillors, of which 13 are with the TMC and seven are with the BJP at present. The Left and the Congress have one councillor each.