Kolkata: Eight Trinamool Congress councillors from Halisahar municipality including Chairman Anshuman Roy, who had joined the BJP in May this year, returned to their old party on Tuesday.The official announcement in this connection was made by senior Trinamool Congress leader Firhad Hakim, who is also in charge of the state Urban and Municipal Affairs department. After being with the saffron party for a brief period of time, the councillors rejoined Trinamool Congress, in presence of party leaders Firhad Hakim, Jyotipriya Mullick and Nirmal Ghosh, at the Press Corner outside the Assembly. It comes as a significant move at a time when the BJP is trying to create a dent in the ruling party in the state by taking away their members. Also Read – Centuries-old Durga Pujas continue to be hit among revellersWith the return of these eight, the total number of Trinamool Congress councillors in the 23-member Halisahar municipality board has gone up to 12. The remaining 11 seats still belong to opposition parties. With the latest development, the Trinamool Congress is all set to regain Halisahar municipality from BJP, which had taken command over the activities of the municipality since May. It may be mentioned here that Trinamool Congress earlier had the strength of 21 out of the 23-seat municipality. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaAfter the eight councillors returned to Trinamool Congress, Firhad Hakim said that they had been forced to join BJP by Arjun Singh, who had unleashed a reign of terror in the area. Singh, who was a Trinamool Congress MLA from Bhatpara, joined BJP ahead of the Lok Sabha elections as he was denied ticket by Trinamool Congress. Singh subsequently contested from the Barrackpore Lok Sabha seat on BJP’s ticket and eventually came out victorious. “These eight councillors were forced to join BJP on gunpoint. They were threatened of dire consequences by Singh. After joining BJP, they soon realised their mistakes. They had been in a suffocating atmosphere within the BJP and hence expressed their desire to return back to our party. A woman councillor was even threatened that her son would be killed,” Hakim said. Hakim added that the eight councillors have also met party supremo and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and sought an apology from her. They have also realised that BJP is not the party where they could stay for long. “They have heaved a sigh of relief after returning to Trinamool Congress,” Hakim said.
UNIONS WILL HEAD to the Labour Relations Commission next week in an attempt to end a dispute over the proposed privatisation of some bus routes.The unions involved, Siptu and NBRU, have been invited to talks, which will also be attended by the National Transport Authority (NTA), Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann.The row centres around the plans to privatise some routes currently operated by Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann.“Siptu has been campaigning for some time against the flawed and ideologically driven plan being pursued by the NTA to outsource up to 10% of routes currently operated by Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann,” Siptu organiser Owen Reidy explained.“The reality is such talks will come to little unless the NTA changes its approach and bins its illogical part privatisation agenda. This agenda will prove to be a bad deal for the taxpayer, the travelling public and the workers who provide the public transport system.NBRU general secretary Dermot O’Leary welcomed the NTA’s attendance at the talks, as “ignored staff concerns” until now, he claimed.“One of the main planks of our campaign over recent months has been to highlight the continuous side-lining of staff concerns by the NTA”, and said that the protests will now be suspended in recognition of the invitation of the invitation.Read: Industrial action threatened as Irish Rail plans to go ahead with pay cuts >