The chairman of the Gangarampur municipality has appointed Tuloshi Prasad Chowdhury, the councillor of Ward-10, as the new vice chairman, who immediately set 5 August as the date for holding a no-confidence motion against the chairman Prashant Mitra.

It may be noted here that nine councillors, including the former vice-chairman Amalendu Sarkar, are missing for the past 20 days, while normal work in the municipality has been affected. People of Gangarampur have met the chairman and urged him to continue providing the essential services in the town.

The chairman has claimed majority in the municipality board and has challenged the leaders of the rebel councillors to return and prove their majority.

Following the switch-over of top Trinamul Congress leaders in the district to the saffron brigade, including the former TMC president in the district Biplab Mitra, the district president of the Trinamul Congress, Arpita Ghosh, has sacked chairman Prashant Mitra from the party.

On 26 June, nine of the 18 councillors demanded a noconfidence motion against the chairman. Ex-vice chairman Amalendu Sarakar led the rebel councillors, who have been out of contact since 27 June. Even their mobile phones are switched off.

“Normal services have been disrupted in the absence of the councillors. In the first week of July, a group of people served a memorandum to the chairman and demanded that the essential services be provided in the municipality area,” civic body sources said.

“Chairman Mitra selected Mr Prasad Chowdhury as the vice-chairman yesterday, while the latter began work from today and fixed the date for the floor test,” the sources added.

Political observers in the district have said that the latest move by Mr Mitra is a ‘masterstroke.’ “First, he dismissed the former vice-chairman as he had masterminded the no-confidence motion, and the post of the vice-chairman is needed for the no-confidence motion. So by appointing the new vice-chairman, Mr Mitra has tried to control the process,” an observer said.

“Normal work has been affected in the absence of the councillors. As such, we selected a new vice-chairman and he has started office. Nine of our councillors are missing. Trinamul Congress leaders have no faith in the councillors who have signed the letter seeking the no-confidence motion. As such, they have kept the councillors out of station for the last 20 days. We are confident that the councillors will vote for me if they are able to vote freely,” chairman Mitra said.