OPINION: Party vs Mayor

NEW DELHI (The Statesman/ANN) - The rumblings within the Trinamul Congress are still more resonant with the party leadership and the Mayor of Bidhannagar, Sabyasachi Dutta ~ incidentally also the MLA from New Town ~ reaching a parting of the ways.

With the benefit of hindsight, one could argue that the inner-party rivalry between real estate syndicates has contributed not a little to the latest kerfuffle not the least because Dutta’s bete noire and a rival real estate activist, Sujit Bose, ~ now a minister of state with one-time CPI-M membership as part of his CV ~ was present at Sunday’s meeting when the factional infighting was palpable enough.

There have been violent confrontations between factions headed by the two MLAs. Yet the straw that broke the camel’s back was Dutta’s parallel meeting with Mukul Roy of the BJP on Sunday, though the former’s possible switchover to the saffronite camp is for now only a matter of conjecture. HIs defence of the meeting with the BJP’s busybody in West Bengal would have been amusing were it not for the critical political implications.

“It was a courtesy call,” said Dutta. “Mamata had also sent a kurta and sweets to Modi after his spectacular victory.” Suffice it to register that the crisis has deepened on Monday with the municipal affairs minister, Firhad Hakim, directing the Salt Lake mayor over the telephone to put in his papers or face a no-confidence motion to be moved by a majority of councillors who are now ranged against the mayor, most particularly after his intemperate remarks against the party leadership.

Last Friday, for instance, Dutta took a swipe at the state government at a programme organised by a Trinamul-backed labour union in the state-run power sector. He had also challenged the party leadership to take action against him. Small wonder that Hakim has debunked Dutta as a Mir Jafar, a barb that suggests that the Bidhannagar mayor has betrayed his party.

In the 41-member civic body, Trinamul boasts 38 councillors. In the net, Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation has become almost non-functional, with the councillors being asked to gear up for the presentation of a no-confidence motion. While the municipal administration contends with the imbroglio, civic services in the satellite town are teetering.

The citizens do deserve better than the bickering within the Trinamul Congress; on closer reflection they deserved better on the day of the election when Salt Lake was roiled by extensive mayhem. In the wider canvas, the ruling party, in the aftermath of the drubbing in the Lok Sabha elections, has suffered a further loss of face.

The murk, both political and municipal, is overwhelming. Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy, who had conceived the township, would have been aghast.

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