In a major shift in power center within the ruling Trinamool Congress in the civic administration of Kolkata city, senior party leader Sovan Chatterjee today, resigned from the post of Kolkata mayor, following directions from the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Chatterjee sent his resignation letter through a messenger to Kolkata Municipal Corporation chairperson Mala Roy, which was accepted.
Chatterjee, who was holding two important portfolios of the housing and fire service department in the West Bengal government, had resigned from the cabinet two days ago.
While KMC Commissioner Khalil Ahmed was asked to look after the operations of the civic body till the new mayor was appointed, Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim has been given the additional charge of the two portfolios held by Chatterjee.
Meanwhile, the West Bengal Assembly today approved a bill which paved the way for the appointment of a person as Mayor of Kolkata Municipal Corporation along with the existing provision that only elected person could occupy the chair. The person, however, after being appointed as Mayor has to get elected as a councillor of KMC within six months of the nomination.
However, Mamata Banerjee ruled out any crisis in the government following the resignation of Chatterjee. The distance between Banerjee and Chatterjee, who was once considered a trusted aide of the chief minister, started growing after reports of problems in his conjugal life surfaced.
There were also allegations that Chatterjee was not taking his responsibilities seriously, either as a mayor or as a minister. Earlier this year, Banerjee had removed Chatterjee from the post of the Environment Minister.