Jitendra Tiwari, the Asansol deputy and former mayor of the city, accused the state government of not allowing the Asansol municipal corporation to obtain central funds due to the policy and avoided meeting with Tuesday the urban development minister Firhad Hakim in Kolkata. He told the leadership that he would only talk to the prime minister and the head of the Trinamool Congress, Mamata Banerjee, and no one else.
As Banerjee is touring North Bengal, the party informed Tiwari that the CM could meet him on December 18, a TMC leader said, aware of the development.
This came on a day when former cabinet minister Suvendu Adhikari, a heavyweight in the party, sparked speculation that he could join the Bharatiya Janata (BJP) party during a visit by Union Interior Minister Amit Shah in voting status at the end of this week.
Speculation also began in Asansol, where two TMC advisers, who are known to be close to Tiwari, wrote social media posts praising Adhikari.
In a letter to Hakim on Sunday, Tiwari said the state government had not allowed Asansol Municipal Corporation to receive 2,000m euros in funding from the center as part of the smart city project for political reasons. Although marked confidential, the letter was leaked.
Tiwari claimed to have written to Hakim about the same issue at least five times in the past, but Sunday’s letter was revealed by someone on purpose. “I will discuss these issues only with the chief minister,” he said.
Deputy Asansol also informed the higher education department that he wants to resign from the governing body of two local colleges.
These caused major embarrassment for TMC as the BJP won two adjacent Lok Sabha seats in the West Burdwan district in 2019.
Developments have sparked speculation that Tiwari, who is chairman of the TMC district unit, could leave the party in preparation for crucial rally polls in about five months.
“I am very upset to say that our city was chosen by the Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India, in the Smart City Mission project which, if allowed by you, our city could have received funds worth 2000 million be very crucial to the development of the city, ”Tiwari wrote in a letter to Hakim on Sunday.
“… for political reasons, the state government did not allow us to benefit from it,” Tiwari wrote.
The Union’s Minister of State, Babul Supriyo, is the Asansol MP, while the adjacent Bardhaman-Durgapur seat is represented by another Union Minister of State, SS Ahluwalia.
The region has a sizeable non-Bengali population as well as a Muslim population. Asansol is the second largest city in South Bengal. It is located in the largest industrial and coal mining belt in the state.