Sovan Chatterjee turns defiant; yet to quit from mayor post

The Asian Age.

Metros, Kolkata

He did not resign as the mayor of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation on Wednesday, a deadline set by the chief minister.

Sovan Chatterjee

Kolkata: A day after quitting his ministership in rebellion following a fracas with Trinamul Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee from her cabinet party MLA Sovan Chatterjee has turned defiant. He did not resign as the mayor of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation on Wednesday, a deadline set by the chief minister, raising eyebrows within the ruling party.

His defiance has triggered a suspicion within the Trinamul that his move is aimed at causing further embarrassment to the party and its chief in a desperate attempt before switching to the BJP for shelter as he is one of the accused in Narada sting operation case. Assuming Mr Chatterjee would send his resignation, KMC chairperson Mala Roy and municipal commissioner Khalil Ahmed were present in their offices at the civic body.

Ms Roy said, “I did not come to receive the mayor’s resignation letter. I had some important work. That is why I came. When the party will give me an order, I will abide by it. But no paper from the mayor has reached us so far.” But Mr Chatterjee maintained suspense. “Wait a bit more. All will come to know about it very soon from the source through which the news about my resignation from ministership came to public,” he said.

Reposing his faith in the Trinamul chief Mr Chatterjee added, “The chief minister is Mamata Banerjee. She has ordered me to resign. So I will send my resignation letter at the right time.” Asked if he would switch to any other party he elaborated, “Such questions can arise in the present situation. But the time has not come to answer to such hypothetical questions. Many people speculate according to their ways.”

On his resignation from the ministership he elaborated, “I will give details about it in right time. The picture will be clear then. It is my prerogative to take my decision in my way. But I firmly believe I neither have committed any mistake nor chose a wrong path.” As the pressure is mounting on Mr Chatterjee from the party, sources close to him claimed that he might submit his resignation on Thursday.

Siginificantly on Thursday afternoon the Trinamul chief will convene a meeting with her party’s councillors in the KMC at Uttirna auditorium in Alipore to select the new mayor. All eyes are now set also on Thursday for another reason. Few hours before her meeting the Trinamul government is planning to table a municipal bill in the ongoing winter session of the Assembly for amendment in the mayor’s appointment, sources revealed.

The amendment will pave way for the appointment of a person, despite being a non-councillor, as the mayor with a provision that he is elected as a councillor from any ward within six months of the appointment to the post, sources added. In case Mr Chatterjee does not resign even on Thursday, the Trinamul councillors may also exercise their power to bring a no-confidence motion at the KMC against him for his removal.