- 17 Gorkha Janmukti Morcha councillors switched over to the BJP
- The total strength of the local body is 32, but two seats are vacant
- Darjeeling is fifth municipal body taken over by BJP after poll results
The BJP on Saturday grabbed control of the municipal body in Darjeeling after seventeen Gorkha Janmukti Morcha councillors switched over to the party. The total strength of the local body is 32, but two seats are vacant. Darjeeling is the fifth municipal body taken over by the BJP after the general election results were announced.
The BJP, which had won only two seats in 2014 general elections, pulled off a stellar performance, winning 18 out of the 42 seats. Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool was reduced to 22 seats, 12 less than its 2014 tally.
The four civic bodies the BJP took over earlier are Bhatpara, Kanchrapara, Halishahar and Naihati. They are all in the Barrackpore Lok Sabha constituency where BJP's Arjun Singh defeated Trinamool's Dinesh Trivedi in the general election.
The status of the Naihati civic body is under a cloud because the state government has put an administrator in charge of the civic body.
Before the parliamentary polls, Bhatpara MLA Arjun Singh was the municipal chairman. When he joined the BJP in April, he was kicked out from the post. After his won, the Trinamool candidates joined the BJP and elected him as Barrackpore chairman again.
In Bhatpara municipality, the BJP bagged 26 votes in the civic body of 34 members, marking the passing of control.
The BJP will organise a big demonstration in the city in the coming days, BJP leader Mukul Roy has said.
Last month, a huge contingent of leaders, most of them from the Trinamool Congress, joined the BJP. The leaders who switched over included three legislators -- Trinamool's Subhrangshu Roy, the son of Mukul Roy, Tusharkanti Bhattacharya and CPM's Debendra Nath Roy. The rest were 16 municipal councillors from the Trinamool Congress - crucial for grassroot influence.
The Trinamool had reacted to the exodus, saying its leaders were forced into the BJP on gunpoint.
Senior BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya, in charge of West Bengal during the Lok Sabha election, had said that the joining of the leaders of other parties in the BJP would take place in seven phases.
"Like the elections were held in seven phases in West Bengal, joining the BJP would also happen in seven phases. Today was just the first phase," he had said.
With inputs from PTI