Hours after he was stripped of his powers as mayor of the Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation (BMC), senior TMC leader and MLA Sabyasachi Dutta met BJP leader Mukul Roy, fuelling speculation of his switch over to the saffron camp. Roy was seen meeting Dutta at the Bidhanagar Swimming pool Association Club in Salt Lake.
When inquired about his meeting with Roy, Dutta said, "Mukul da is just like my elder brother. He is aware of the political developments, so he just came to inquire about my well-being and future plans. It's a courtesy visit." While speaking on the party's decision to strip him of his powers as mayor, Dutta said, "There is a rule of law. There are certain procedures. I will follow that as long as I am there as mayor. I am not bothered about what others are saying."
Roy, however, declined to give a direct reply on whether Dutta would join the BJP in the near future. "Only time will say whether he will join the BJP or not. But being the elder brother, I would surely want for his well-being and good," Roy said.
The Trinamool Congress leadership Sunday clipped the wings of BMC Mayor Dutta on the charge of making anti-party statements and handed over his powers to his deputy. The decision was made at an emergency meeting of BMC councilors, who urged party supremo Mamata Banerjee to take a call on Dutta's fate in the party. Senior TMC leader and minister Firhad Hakim were present at the meeting.
Dutta was not invited at the meeting, in which several councilors expressed their opinion that he should be removed from the mayor's post, TMC sources said. "Several councilors even threatened to resign if Dutta continues as mayor. However, it was decided that party supremo Mamata Banerjee will take the final call," said a councilor, who attended the meeting.
The TMC sources said it was decided at the meeting that henceforth BMC's Deputy Mayor Tapas Chatterjee would handle additional responsibilities and call meetings of councilors if needed. Several councilors also proposed Chatterjee's name as the next mayor, but Hakim said such a decision will be taken by Banerjee, the sources said.
Chatterjee, a veteran CPI(M) leader of the Rajarhat-Newtown area, had switched over to the TMC in 2015. "I would inform our party supremo about the views of the councilors. I won't say anything else," Hakim told reporters after the meeting.
The BMC has 41 councilors and 39 of them belong to the TMC. A total of 36 TMC councilors attended the meeting. The BMC covers Salt Lake and its adjacent areas. The party leadership was annoyed with Dutta after he participated in an agitation against the state's power department and slammed the government for not fulfilling the employees' demands for increasing their salaries.
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