JORHAT, Feb 12 - The crisis-hit BJP-run Jorhat Municipal Board (JMB), which has been plagued by bitter infighting since the saffron party won the municipal polls in 2015, yesterday witnessed the ultimate step of removing the incumbent Chairman Jayanta Borkakoty as nine BJP ward commissioners, with the support of seven Congress commissioners, passed a vote of no-confidence against Borkakoty.
A JMB source stated that the no-trust vote was passed at a special general meeting of the JMB convened by the Vice-Chairman Paban Bordoloi to decide the fate of Borkakoty.
The BJP enjoys a majority in the JMB with 12 out of the total 19 ward commissioners belonging to the BJP and rest seven commissioners from the Congress.
It may be mentioned here that on January 25 last, in a letter signed by 16 ward commissioners (9 BJP and 7 Congress), apprised the then Jorhat Deputy Commissioner Narayan Konwar stating that they were dissatisfied with the performance of Borkakoty and so had passed a no-confidence motion against him in the Board meeting held on January 25.
The letter urged the Deputy Commissioner to take action as per provisions of law that govern the civic bodies of the state and remove Borkakoty from the post at the earliest.
A JMB source stated that Konwar sought legal opinion on the matter from the Jorhat district Government pleader Simanta Borthakur.
Thereafter, Konwar relinquished charge on January 29 and left for Dispur to assume his new posting.
The new Jorhat Deputy Commissioner Roshni A Korati, who assumed charge on February 2, had to leave station due to some work a day after and is expected to be back in the next few days.
In the meantime, Government pleader Simanta Borthakur on February 6 gave his opinion in a letter written on February 6 to the JMB Executive Officer Bipul Kumar Das, who is also the Jorhat (Sadar) Sub-Divisional Officer.
Borthakur in his letter stated that the no-confidence motion passed by the JMB against Borkakoty by a total 16 out of 19 ward commissioners did not bear any legal value as it was not passed as per procedure and provisions under the Assam Municipal Act, 1956.
Borthakur also reportedly stated that the letter, signed by 16 ward commissioners and submitted to the Deputy Commissioner, too failed to be treated as a legal notice.
The source said in view of the opinion presented by the Government pleader to Das on the matter, the JMB Executive Officer directed the 16 ward commissioners seeking Borkakoty’s ouster, to convene a special general meeting of the JMB to vote on the issue, which was held yesterday in the presence of Das.
Das told The Assam Tribune that he was present at the special meeting convened by the JMB Vice-Chairman Paban Bordoloi to decide the fate of Borkakoty in order to ensure that the proceedings were observed as per the provisions of the law.
The JMB Executive Officer said that all 16 ward-commissioners present in the meeting voted against Borkakoty.
Das said as per the law, Borkakoty will ceases to be Chairman as the no-trust vote was passed as per provisions of the Act.
He said a new special meeting of the Board will have to be convened again by the JMB Vice-Chairman to elect a new chairman and till then he (Vice-Chairman) will officiate as the Chairman of JMB.
The JMB, run by BJP since April 1, 2015, has been marred by frequent feuds among the saffron party ward commissioners leading to replacement in the post of Chairman on September 2017.
Then JMB Chairperson Aruna Dutta had quit the post on August 3, 2017, after she reportedly faced opposition from a section of her own party ward commissioners.
The earlier JMB Vice Chairman Anup Ghosh Dastidar on November 24, 2017 resigned citing personal reasons after which Paban Bordoloi became the Vice-Chairman on January 2018.
According to JMB sources, Dastidar too faced opposition from inner-party squabbles.
It may be mentioned here that Borkakoty during the first week of December last year had sought one month’s leave from the Board to prove his ‘innocence’ regarding allegations of having an illicit relationship with a woman, which was published in several vernacular newspapers.
However, he denied the allegations and stated that he needed one month’s time to prove that he was not involved in any illicit affair.