In a significant political development, former CPI-M MLA of Phansidewa and member of the Siliguri Mahakuma Parishad (SMP), Choton Kisku, joined Trinamul Congress on Thursday, hitting the numbers at the Left Front-run elected board.

Mr Kisku, who was the party MLA between 2006 and 2011, is also the Darjeeling district CPI-M secretariat member. He holds the post of ‘Purta Karmadhakshya’ at the SMP, and he won the SMP elections from the Hetmuri- Ghoshpukur area.

“I joined the ruling party for development of the rural areas,” said Mr Kisku, who was also the Shakari Sabhadhipati of the SMP between 2004 and 2006. CPI-M leaders, however, said Mr Kisku “surrendered before muscle flexing and fear tactics of the Trinamul Congress as it tries to take control of elected rural bodies.”

Darjeeling district Trinamul Congress president and state tourism minister Gautam Deb, who handed over a party flag to Mr Kisku, said on Thursday’s development has led the party to bring a no-confidence motion against the SMP board after two-and-ahalf years.

According to rules, such motion cannot be introduced unless the boards of rural bodies complete twoand- a-half years. The ruling party had being trying to bring in a no-trust motion in the Left-run Siliguri Municipal Corporation and SMP, but have failed to do so due to lack of numbers.

“Choton Kisku has been a prominent face, and his joining would boost the party. We have earlier set a deadline to bring in the no-confidence motion against the SMP board. After this, we will introduce such a motion. The magic figures required to pass the motion is five,” Mr Deb said.

The Left Front had defeated the Trinamul 6-3 in the nine-seat SMP polls in October 2015. The Left now stands at five members, while the figure for the Trinamul gone up to four.

“There has been no development at Hetmuri-Ghoshpukur, no project of the North Bengal Development Department and the Siliguri Jalpaiguri Development Authority has been initiated in the area. I joined the Trinamul Congress for the sake of development,” Mr Kisku said.

SMP Sabhadhipati Tapas Sarkar, however, said his departure from the board will not have an impact on the party. “We are united and it will not have any impact on other Left members in the board,” he said. Political observers, meanwhile, feel that Front leaders will now take every possible step to stop further damage, and not give Trinamul any opportunity to take any more of the board members.

District Left Front convener Jibesh Sarkar said Mr Kisku has betrayed the people as they had given him a mandate as a CPM leader. “He will be thrown out of the CPI-M as per the party’s rules,” Mr Sarkar, the Darjeeling district secretary of the CPI-M, said.

Mr Sarkar also said they would look into what prompted Mr Kisku to take such a decision. “The ruling party has been resorting to unethical means by capturing elected bodies. They are luring leaders with money, and are intimidating elected representatives in their attempts to capture the rural bodies. We will look into what form they adopted this time,” Mr Sarkar said. Some DYFI activists also joined Trinamul today.