Kolkata: After eight years at the helm of Kolkata Municipal Corporation, mayor Sovan Chatterjee suddenly finds himself in a spot. Chatterjee, a notable absentee in the party’s core committee meeting on Friday, triggered speculation over his future.
Also, a day before the mayor is scheduled to present KMC’s budget for the 2018-19, KMC’s controller of municipal finance and accounts (CMFA) was given a third extension, but stripped off all financial powers. The officer is believed to be close to Chatterjee. This, top Trinamool leaders suggested, was a signal to the mayor that he was under scanner.
According to sources, Chatterjee himself has conveyed his unwillingness to continue as mayor to the party leadership. To the media, however, he refused to tell anything regarding this.
This isn’t all. According to sources, the party’s top leadership met during the day to discuss whether Chatterjee should continuance as the mayor. Incidentally, he also holds key portfolios like housing and fire and emergency services in Mamata Banerjee’s cabinet. He is also the party’s South 24 Parganas district president.
Chatterjee has been under the party’s scanner for the past few months. Chief minister Mamata Banerjee, sources said, was annoyed when the mayor skipped a meeting on vector control presided by her. According to sources, she was also upset after enteric diseases affected eight KMC wards. A senior party leader said the chief minister also didn’t like the way her instructions to repair former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s Palm Avenue home was delayed by several months. It was repaired only after municipal commissioner Khalil Ahmed was prodded by the chief minister.
But Chatterjee being stripped off his Z-plus security status, his own admission that he is bogged down with personal problems and his tendency to stay away from key meetings is only giving credence to the whispers in the party grapevine. Chatterjee, sources said, is also keeping himself away from KMC’s day-to-day functioning.