Trinamool Congress is likely to give another major blow to the Congress in Bengal, when it takes over Berhampore Municipality this weekend. Senior Trinamool leader Mannan Hussain said 29 Councillors, including two influential Congress leaders, would join the party at a function on September 18.
State Transport minister Suvendu Adhikari will preside over the function and handover party flags to those who come to its fold. It may be recalled that TMC had already taken over three municipalities in Murshidabad and the Zilla Parishad.
The municipalities that came under its control are Beldanga, Jangipur and Azimgunj-Ziagunj.
Murshidabad had been Trinamool’s weak spot till recently and it had only one seat in the Zilla Parishad.
The party’s organisation was weak and there was infighting which had affected the party’s progress in the area. Shortly before the Assembly polls, party supremo Mamata Banerjee made Adhikari – who was then an MP – the leader for looking after the district.
The organisation was revamped and new faces were inducted. In the Assembly election, Trinamool bagged four seats. Congress was still in control and Murshidabad came to be known as the fiefdom of Pradesh Congress Committee president Adhir Chowdhury. The drama began after Banerjee started her second stint as Chief Minister on May 27.
Slowly, more municipalities came under Trinamool’s control as the leaders wanted to be associated with Banerjee’s agenda for development. Chowdhury alleged that those office bearers who had left the party had taken anything between Rs 40 lakh to Rs 50 lakh to join Trinamool. Experts said that making such allegations would not help Chowdhury in preventing erosion of support base. He had failed to give programmes to keep party leaders and workers intact.
The Congress leaders reportedly felt that delay in joining Trinamool would affect development work of the area, the experts maintained. For Chowdhury the situation is turning from bad to worse as he is losing grip over the party in Murshidabad, and his rival camp in Congress is becoming strong and soon they could demand his ouster.