Senior Trinamool Congress MLA and chairman of the Asansol Municipal Corporation Jitendra Kumar Tiwari, on Monday alleged in a letter to Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim that a petty politics was stalling development of the industrial city.
“I am writing this letter requesting you to kindly allow Asansol Municipal Corporation to get benefits provided by Central government or [let] State government provide equivalent funds for development of our beloved city Asansol,” Mr. Tiwari said in the letter.
Blaming Mr. Hakim for allegedly preventing Asansol from benefiting from ₹2000 crore of central funds allotted under the Smart City Mission Project, Mr Tiwari said, “due to political reasons we were not allowed to get benefits of this project by the State government”.
The MLA’s letter and open dissent sparked a war of words with the Minister, who said it was the policy of the State government to develop all cities. He added that Mr. Tiwari should have spoken to him before writing a letter.
“If someone wants to leave the party they can. I am not saying that Jitendra will do so, he is a still a committed worker of the Trinamool Congress. But the BJP is misleading many,” Mr. Hakim said.
The Asansol leader responded by saying that he could not turn a blind eye to the aspirations of the people of his constituency.
“I will leave the chair and all facilities if it comes in the way of development of people of Asansol,” Mr Tiwari said.
The State BJP leadership joined the issue and welcomed Mr Tiwari’s comments.
“When I said the same & repeated as to how Asansol has been deprived by @MamataOfficial it always sounded like a political accusation. While we remain fierce political rivals, I am happy Mayor @JitendraAsansol ji cud (could) ultimately garner the courage to spell out the truth,” BJP leader and Asansol MP Babul Supriyo said.
Mr Tiwari’s complaints have added to the discontent in the TMC. Party heavyweight Suvendu Adhikari has been vocal in his dissent and Forests Minister Rajib Banerjee has also struck a discordant note. On Sunday evening the party leadership held a meeting with Mr. Banerjee to convince the Minister not to leave the party.