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Kolkata: The state government has dissolved the current board of Darjeeling Municipality and has appointed an official as the administrator to oversee the day to day functioning.

The move comes after 17 out of the 32 councillors of the civic body switched over from Trinamool’s ally Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (Binay) to the BJP on 8 June. This made it evident that the saffron party will now stake a claim to form a new board.

Before this, on 29 May, the 17 councillors had moved a no-confidence motion against Prativa Rai and went into hiding soon after only to emerge at the BJP headquarters in Delhi.

Issuing an order today 18 June, the state urban development and municipal affairs said that the additional district magistrate (general) of Darjeeling will function as the administrator of Darjeeling Municipality with immediate effect.

This arrangement will continue for six months or until a newly elected board of councillors take over.

The order reads that the administrator has been appointed to “to ensure the smooth running of services” as “a vacuum has been created” following the dissolution of the existing board.

In a similar move, the state government had recently appointed administrators in Bhatpara and Naihati municipalities in south Bengal after majority Trinamool councillors defected to BJP.