State Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim on Saturday said 23 out of 31 councillors of the Naihati municipality were with the Trinamool Congress, and claimed that the party had regained control over the civic body. Hakim was speaking at a press conference held in Kolkata on Saturday.
“The councillors had joined BJP at gunpoint. They were all forced to do so. Today, many are back in the party. We have 23 out of 31 councillors now,” said Hakim.
“Though the councillors had joined BJP, their heart was always with the TMC,” said Hakim.
Earlier, all the 31 councillors of the Naihati municipality belonged to Trinamool Congress. However, after the Lok Sabha polls, in which BJP won 18 seats and TMC 22, as many as 29 councillors joined the BJP in Delhi.
Later, 18 councillors brought no-confidence motion against the Naihati municipality chairman, Ashok Chatterjee. However, the state government appointed an administrator to run the civic body, while talks were on with councillors who had defected.
Meanwhile, tension brewed in Naihati since Friday night as a clash broke out between BJP and TMC workers. BJP councillor Ganesh Ghosh was arrested in connection to the violence. Supporters from both the parties lobbed crude bombs at each other. “We have arrested councillor Ganesh Ghosh for his involvement in the fresh violence. Our investigation is on,” said a senior police officer from the Barrackpore police commissionerate.
Later, a group of BJP supporters, led by local MP Arjun Singh, gheraoed Naihati police station and protested against Ghosh’s arrest. They also blocked roads in the area, which was later lifted by police.