After dissolving Naihati municipality board in North 24 Parganas district, the Trinamool Congress government has now dissolved Darjeeling municipality board.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday appointed the additional district magistrate (general) as the administrator to run the Darjeeling municipality for a period of six months or till newly elected councillors take over.
The government’s move came days after 17 out of 30 municipal councillors switched to the BJP from the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha’s Binay Tamang faction. The municipality has 32 wards, two of which are currently vacant.
Why Trinamool govt is doing so
With TMC MLAs and councillors joining the BJP, the ruling party is losing control of civic bodies one by one in the state. By placing an administrator in Darjeeling as well as Naihati, the TMC government has showed that it is in no mood to allow BJP to rule the civic bodies. With civic elections inKolkata and other cities due for next year, it will be an acid test for both the ruling TMC and the BJP which is on a upswing since its impressive performance in the just concluded Lok Sabha elections.
The Darjeeling municipality border was dissolved under sub-section (2) of section 431 of the West Bengal Municipal Act, 1993, an order issued by its Urban Development and Municipal Affairs Department said.
The order said that with the dissolution of the municipality an administrative vacuum has emerged, which is “required to be filled to ensure smooth running of public services in the municipal area of the said municipality in public interest”.
The order also said with the dissolution, all powers and functions vested upon municipal authorities under this act or any other law in force shall be exercised by the administrator appointed by the state government.
The ADM (general,) Darjeeling, has been appointed as the administrator of the Darjeeling municipality with “immediate effect for a period not exceeding six months or until the newly elected Councillors take over charge, whichever is earlier,” the order said.
Earlier, the TMC government had dissolved Naihati municipality board after a majority of TMC councillors had joined the BJP.
Meanwhile, reacting to the development, the BJP slammed the government’s move, saying it will move the court against the dissolution of Naihati and Darjeeling municipality boards.
“This is dictatorship and it amounts to the murder of democracy. It is absolutely wrong to dissolve an elected board and take its control through an administrator. We will move the court against this,” BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya said here on Wednesday.