Pandemonium marked the monthly Siliguri Municipal Corporation (SMC) meeting on Wednesday over the recent defection of Forward Bloc councilor, Durga Singh to Trinamool Congress. The chairman of the Left Front run board Dilip Singh said the meeting was conducted but the Trinamool claimed the meeting was ‘illegal’.

After the defection of Singh to Trinamool Congress,last week,the strength of Left Front at SMC came down to 22 while the number has gone up for the Trinamool from 17 to 18. The magic figure to form the board in the 47-member SMC is 24.

The Left councillors raised slogans and showed placards against Singh as she arrived for the meeting with Trinamool Congress councillors. This prompted Trinamool Congress to raise counter slogans. The meeting could not be started on the scheduled time of 1 pm. Some Trinamool councillors even threw the mikes. They said they would not attend the meeting unless the Left councillors removed the placards. The Left councillors raised ‘go back’ slogans saying Singh&’s defection was ‘unethical’.

The chairman Dilip Singh, mayor Asok Bhattacharya and some members of mayor-in-council repeatedly requested the Trinamool councillors to attend the meeting but they did not pay heed. Later, they raised slogans and waved party flags.

A Trinamool Congress councillor of ward 37 Ranjan Sil Sharma said they will not allow the meeting to be held, alleging that the chairman was biased.

Sil Sharma was blowing a whistle during the protests. Police forces were deployed at SMC premises. The board meeting was started at 1.25 pm amidst sloganeering.

“The SMC witnessed a shameful day in the history of the corporation today. Some councillors broke the glasses and mikes, they entered the meeting hall with party flags, some councillors even behaved indecently with the Left women councillors. The Left councillors did not do anything wrong, showing of placards is natural in the Assembly also. The placards are usually removed when the Speaker asks them to do so, here the chairman had repeatedly asked them but nobody paid heed,” Bhattacharya said.

The leader of the Opposition Nantu Paul said the meeting was illegal.

“The meeting was illegal as no councillor had signed. The minority board does not have the required number to pass the resolutions,”  Paul said.

The chairman Dilip Singh said the meeting was held and the resolutions were passed despite the pandemonium. “But such a situation was unexpected and unwanted,” he added.

All 22 Left councillors were present. Two Congress councillors out of four and two BJP councillors were also present in the meeting.