TMC councillors go on rampage

Adhikari

Haldia Municipality CPM says another example of attack on democracy by TMC.

CPM leader and chairperson of Haldia Municipality, Tamalika Ponda Seth, was gheraoed by Trinamool Congress councillors on Wednesday and not allowed to enter the municipal office. The Trinamool councillors, who are demanding her resignation, alleging misgovernance ransacked her vehicle.

This comes six months after the CPM stunned the Trinamool by winning the Haldia municipal election in East Midnapore district — a stronghold of the Trinamool where the party gained clout through its Nandigram agitation.

The Wednesday's developments are considered significant in the wake of the controversial local Trinamool MP, Suvendu Adhikari, public announcing that they will "capture" Haldia municipality and the CPM-led civic board will be "forced to resign".

Losing the Haldia civic body poll had such a great impact on the Trinamool that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee reportedly demoted the East Midnapore leaders, including two of the Trinamool MPs from the area, in the party's rank and file.

Tamalika, who is wife of CPM strongman Lakshman Seth, said there have been concerted attempts by the opposition Trinamool not allowing the elected body to function. Terming the protests as pre-planned, she said: "This was our sixth board meeting and all councillors irrespective of their political affiliations are invited. But today, we were not allowed to hold the meeting in the office. We had sensed trouble and had informed the police and district administration. But not a single police personnel was present at the spot when Trinamool supporters, mostly outsiders, heckled us."

The meeting was later held in another conference hall.

Senior CPM leader Surya Kanta Mishra termed the developments at Haldia Municipality as "yet another instance of attack on democracy unleashed by the Trinamool Congress in the state".

Meanwhile, defiant Trinamool councillors justified their act saying they were protesting against irregularities in functioning of the municipality. "We did nothing wrong. We are never allowed to speak in the meetings. No development has taken place in the area. Moreover, the municipal board is involved in several corruption cases," said Debaprasad Mondal, Leader of the Opposition in Haldia Municipality.

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