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HC stays meet to hold trust vote in Halisahar Municipality

HC stays meet to hold trust vote in Halisahar Municipality

Kolkata, Jul 19 (PTI) The Calcutta High Court Friday stayed a meeting for holding a vote of confidence in the chairman of the Halisahar Municipality on a plea by a councillor that the provision is being misused by the head of the civic body to get protection.Justice Samapti Chattopadhyay stayed the meeting on the no-confidence motion and holding of the vote, which was scheduled to be taken up at 3 pm Friday, till July 23, when the petition will be heard again.The Trinamool Congress (TMC)-controlled Halisahar Municipality is in turmoil since results of the Lok Sabha election are out, giving the BJP an edge in the area.Appearing for BJP councillor Bandhugopal Saha, senior advocate Bikash Bhattacharya submitted that this is a fraud on the statute as the chairman is actually trying to avoid any no-confidence motion in another six months.He claimed that the chairman seeks to take advantage of the provision that once a no-confidence motion is defeated, it cannot be brought again within six months, thus to prevent the opposition from bringing another such motion within that period.Appearing for the state, West Bengal Advocate General Kishore Dutta claimed that there was no illegality in the motion brought by some of the councillors.He submitted that other members should not be made to suffer for the whims of one councillor who has moved the high court.In the 23-member Halisahar Municipality, eight TMC councillors brought a no-confidence motion on July 10, following which the chairman called a meeting for holding a confidence vote.The municipal body in North 24 Parganas district has been going through a turmoil since the Lok Sabha election, in which former Trinamool Congress MLA Arjun Singh won from the Barrackpore seat as a BJP candidate.Halisahar falls within the Barrackpore constituency.The TMC had 21 councillors, while there was one BJP and one independent member in the municipality.Seventeen TMC councillors, including chairman Roy, joined the BJP in June, leaving the TMC a minority in the municipal body.With the drama still unfolding, nine of the 17 councillors, including Roy, later came back to the TMC, giving it a majority once again in the Halisahar Municipality with 13members.The opposition BJP has claimed that the TMC has engineered the motion by its own councillors so that the chairman can win and stave off any possibility of facing a no-trust motion within six months. PTI AMR NN KJ