NEW SMC BOARD LATEST BY 3 JUNE
By bappaditya paul
SIX DAYS AFTER THE RESULTS WERE DECLARED, the Bengal State Election Commission (SEC) on Monday finally notified the poll results of Siliguri Municipal Corporation (SMC) in the state’s Official Gazette, thus paving way for the formation of a new civic board there.
Going by Section 71 of the West Bengal Municipal Elections Act, 1994, notifying the poll results in the Official Gazette is mandatory for a newly elected civic board to take over.
SEC had notified the poll results of Kolkata Municipal Corporation the very next day of declaring the results on 28 April.
The move comes amidst the Left’s allegation that the Trinamul Congress was trying to capture power at SMC by doctoring a defection in rival parties and hence the state government was deliberately delaying the process of forming a new board so to give the Trinamul more time in horse trading.
Of the 47 wards in SMC, the Left has won 23 seats, Trinamul 17, Congress 4, BJP 2 and 1 Independent, who happens to be a rebel Trinamul. Hence, the Left is poised to form the board despite being one seat short of majority.
With the SEC now notifying the SMC poll results, Section 50B of the West Bengal Municipal Act, 1993, makes it imperative for the Darjeeling district magistrate to convene a meeting of the newly elected councillors within 30 days, for forming a new civic board.
Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamul supremo Mamata Banerjee who on Monday afternoon had a meeting in Siliguri with the 17 Trinamul councillors, is reported to have asked them to sit in the Opposition bench.
But political observers suspect that she will always look forward to a defection by other party councillors to grab SMC, even if at a later stage.
This has happened in the past with the Haldia Municipality in East Midnapore, where the Left ruled civic board was toppled by Trinamul through defection.
Meanwhile, the Bengal poll panel is yet to notify the poll results of another 90 civic bodies in the state where elections were held on 25 April and the results were declared on 28 April along with Siliguri.