The Siliguri model of CPI(M) received a jolt on Thursday after a Forward Bloc Councillor and member, Mayor-in-Council (Health) of Siliguri Municipal Corporation, Durga Singh, joined Trinamool Congress.
At a function held in Siliguri, Trinamool Congress ministers Goutam Deb and Aroop Biswas handed over the party flag to Singh. After joining the party, Singh said the development schemes of the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had attracted people from all walks of life and had also touched the hearts of the residents of Siliguri.
With this, Trinamool Congress’ strength in the civic board becomes 18 while that of the Left is 22. Congress and BJP have four and two Councillors respectively while there is one independent councillor.
It was during the election of Siliguri Municipal Corporation, the Left Front and Congress candidates fought jointly and after winning the board, the former Urban Development minister and the mayor of the corporation, Ashok Bhattacharya became a hero overnight. The model was named the Siliguri model.
Bhattacharya became an invited member in the party’s state committee. The CPI(M) tried to replicate the model throughout the state in the Assembly election. However, the experiment did not succeed and the party bagged only 28 MLAs, the lowest since 1972.
Criticising the Trinamool’s move to take over municipalities, Bhattacharya said the party would fail to make any dent in the Silguri Municipal Corporation. He claimed that three Trinamool Congress Councillors were keeping constant touch with the CPI(M). About Singh’s joining Trinamool he said: “He has sold himself like a cow or goat. He succumbed to the money pressure.” He said he had a telephonic conversation with WBPCC president Adhir Chowdhury who had assured him that four of his party Councillors would not quit the party and would support CPI(M).
Jibesh Sarkar, CPI(M) district secretary said: “If Trinamool had the courage it should bring a no confidence motion against the board and see how they are defeated. The board will complete its five year term,” he said.
Goutam Deb, state tourism minister said the development that had taken place was remarkable and people’s representatives belonging to the Opposition parties had shown keen interest to join Trinamool and be a part to it.
Political experts said the Left Front and Congress alliance had received a major shock and it was evident that cracks had appeared on their fort in Siliguri.