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5 Jun 2018

Trinamul targets Asok

TT, Jun 05, 2018 , Siliguri: Trinamul councillors at the Siliguri Municipal Corporation have levelled fresh allegation against the Left Front-led civic board for hushing up financial irregularities that took place during the tenure of the Congress-led civic board.

They also suspect Asok Bhattacharya, the mayor, has ignored the irregularities at the SMC during the Congress' tenure. They alleged that the mayor's silence is a part of the tacit understanding between the Left and Congress. Bhattacharya was helped by the Congress to pass the annual budget of the civic body, they alleged.

"There was a financial defalcation of Rs 5 crores at the SMC when the Congress was in power from 2008 to 2013. Funds meant for development and assistance were not properly utilised then. But it is surprising that the mayor, after assuming his post and forming the Left board in 2015, ignored the corruption and till date, he has not ordered a probe. It clearly suggests that the Left-led minority board is not ready to take any step that can antagonise Congress councillors, who are constantly extending support to him," said Ranjan Sarkar, the leader of opposition and a Trinamul councillor at the SMC.

Out of 47 seats at the SMC, 22 are with the LF.

But recently, they have, in consultation with Congress, decided to get the four Congress councillors on their side. As of now, the Congress councillors sit in opposition.

The mayor is, in fact, even considering their demand for some member, mayor-in-council (MMIC) posts.

This can help Left move beyond the magic figure of 24.

Trinamul has 18 seats at the SMC, which is six short of the magic figure or the half-plus-one mark.

Political observers said without having adequate number of councillors and given the fact that tenure of the present board would end in another one-and-a-half years, it does not want to control the SMC but wants to deter Congress' councillors from joining the Left.

"Trinamul has taken the strategy to keep pressure on the mayor by raising corruption charges against the Congress. It is obvious that if the mayor goes ahead and gets them (Congress) on board, Trinamul will make it an issue," said an observer.

The mayor, however, brushed aside the allegations.

"They are in power in the state and are free to conduct a probe. All I can say is that the SMC is the only civic body in north Bengal where Trinamul is not in power. That is why the party has become desperate and raising baseless allegations," said Bhattacharya.

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