Accusing West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of autocratic rule, state Congress President Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on Monday said her party Trinamool Congress used "coercion" to retain control of local bodies in Murshidabad district.

Chowdhury was addressing the media a day after the Congress lost control of Baharampur Municipality — till now considered Chowdhury’s pocket borough — after 17 of the party’s councillors crossed over to the Trinamool.

"Banerjee should have taken Murshidabad by winning the polls. But she did not walk that path. She has adopted an autocratic attitude," the Congress leader said.

The ruling Trinamool has captured the zila parishad (highest tier of the three-rung panchayati raj institutions) and scores of municipalities in Murshidabad.

"The administration, police and anti-socials were used to get our elected representatives to switch sides. Some were threatened with false cases. Some were told their families will suffer. All kinds of pressure tactics and coercive methods were used," he said.

"People of Murshidabad voted for the Congress. As the zila parishad was controlled by the Congress till recently, no money was being released (by the state government) for Murshidabad’s development. Now I hope the government will sanction funds."

The Congress leader said they had got 60 projects sanctioned under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana but the state government had not yet released funds.

He urged the chief minister to ensure release of money under the PMGSY to ensure completion of roads.