Civic polls: TMC gears up for BJP’s challenge

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee urges councillors to remain united for next year’s polls in Kolkata  

Kolkata : Recognising the increasing strength of BJP in Kolkata after the Lok Sabha elections, Trinamool Congress supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday asked the councillors of Kolkata Municipal Corporation to create an awareness among city residents regarding the developments that have taken place during the regime of Trinamool Congress.

The Kolkata Municipal Corporation elections are due next year.

Mamata Banerjee convened a meeting at her Kalighat residence on Monday, in a bid to chalk out the party strategy for the civic body poll. The meeting was attended by the Kolkata Municipal Corporation councilors and other senior leaders of the party.

The BJP got 16 per cent of the votes in West Bengal in the last Lok Sabha elections, and won the Asansol and Darjeeling seats, while it was second in Kolkata North and Kolkata South constituencies. BJP candidate from Kolkata South, Tathagata Ray was ahead of Trinamool’s sitting MP Subrata Bakshi at Mamata Banerjee’s home turf – Bhowanipore assembly segment. Even BJP candidate Ritesh Tiwari got the second-largest number of votes in the recently concluded Chowringhee assembly constituency by-election. Chowringhee is considered to be a strong hold of the Trinamool Congress.

Going by the Lok Sabha poll results, the BJP is ahead in as many as 23 wards in Kolkata North constituency. “The BJP would be the nearest political rival of Trinamool Congress in West Bengal and not the Congress or the CPI(M). The next Kolkata Municipal Corporation would be crucial for the party,” a political observer said.

It is learnt that on Monday’s meeting Mamata Banerjee directed the councilors to avoid any squabbles within the party before the civic body election, and asked them to remain united. Meanwhile, BJP President Amit Shah is also coming to the state on November 30 and would address a gathering in the city. The BJP would start their campaign for the Kolkata Municipal Corporation polls on the day, sources in the BJP said.

Ambar Mukherjee

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