The politics of Delhi has not been reflected in Kharagpur.
The Congress captured the civic board from Trinamool Congress and its drive for power was supported by the BJP.
According to an order of the high court, election to the chairman of Kharagpur municipality was held. While the BJP supported the Congress candidate, 3 Left Front councillors were absent. One independent councillor supported the Congress candidate, another stayed away.
Though Congress had given outside support to the last Trinamool Congress civic board last year, the former withdrew support and called a no-confidence motion against Jaharlal Pal, the chairman of the municipality.
While CPI(M) was absent, CPI councilors had voted against the chairman.
At the time of election, in the 35-seat municipality, the Trinamool Congress had 15 councillors, Congress 14 and one each from BJP and independent.
The rest was from the Left Front. After Trinamool Congress had lost in the noconfidence motion, they claimed that proper procedure was not maintained.
The Congress moved the high court seeking their right to form the board.
Before the chairman was elected, Chittaranjan Mandal, a councillor from Congress was elected to preside over the meeting. While Congress nominated Rabishankar Pandey as chairman, Trinamool Congress nominated Tushar Choudhury.
According to sources, Trinamool Congress had demanded that there should be an open vote for the chairman. Congress demanded a secret ballot and SDO Kharagpur R Bimala ruled that there would not be an open vote. Rabishankar Pandey defeated his Trinamool rival by 16 votes to 14.
Speaking to the media, Pandey said, “It is the victory of democracy. Our responsibility has increased. We will ensure a cleaner Kharagpur. The board will work for the people.”
BJP councillor Belarani Mandal, who supported Pandey, was euphoric.
“For the sake of development of my ward, I had supported Congress.”
However, district BJP leadership has said they would ask the councillor why she supported the Congress. “We have asked for an explanation as to why she supported the Congress.
We have told her not to take part in any activities of the party in the mean time”, said Tushar Mukherjee, the district president of BJP in West Midnapore.
Defeated Trinamool candidate Tushar Choudhury put up a brave front.
“I had served as acting chairman. There was a need of a permanent chairman. We would support Congress if they are carry out development."