Poor cash supply, upset party workers: Bengal BJP burnt out ahead of civic polls
By Express News Service
KOLKATA: Murmurs of a cash squeeze in West Bengal BJP following hesitation from Delhi in allocating funds has upset and kindled disinterest among party leaders in the state in contesting the civic polls. The saffron camp’s poor show in the recent Assembly polls and subsequent by-elections is the reason.
Voting to the Kolkata and Howrah municipal corporations are scheduled to be held on December 19 and polls to around 110 other civic bodies are likely to be held next year for which the BJP needs 4,000 odd candidates to contest.
Senior BJP leaders admitted that if the party couldn’t put up candidates in all the seats in the upcoming civic polls, it would be another face loss after the debacle in the Assembly polls.
Before the Assembly elections, application drop boxes were kept at the BJP’s two offices in Kolkata as thousands of aspiring party workers were queuing up seeking the nomination.
“But this time the picture is completely opposite. Behind the lack of interest, one of the main reason is cash crunch with the party’s state unit after the massive show before Assembly polls.
It has been unofficially conveyed that party’s central unit will not be funding poll campaigning. The cost in several wards in central Kolkata, where we have a strong base of non-Bengali electorates, will be around half crore. Who will spend that kind of money?” asked a BJP leader.
The ruling Trinamool Congress’s probable candidates are already in campaign mode in Kolkata and Howrah.
“The TMC is much ahead of us in terms of poll preparedness,” said the leader.
The Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Monday asked its supporters to abide by its selection of candidates for the upcoming Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) election and called upon everyone to work together to ensure the victory of the party candidates.
KMC and Howrah Municipal Corporation are likely to go to the polls on December 19.
“It is quite natural for local leaders to have an aspiration to contest KMC polls. But everyone has to abide by the party’s decision. Everybody has to work together to ensure the victory of party candidates,” TMC secretary-general Partha Chatterjee said.
According to TMC sources, the party has conducted a survey with the help of Prashant Kishor’s I-PAC team to avoid a repeat of a 2018 panchayat poll-like situation, when large scale violence during filing of nominations and infighting was witnessed across West Bengal.
Based on the report, candidates for the civic polls will be selected and strategies formulated.
“The survey has stressed on the performance of the sitting councilors, and Lok Sabha and assembly elections’ results in different wards. Feedback from the locals would play an important role in the selection of candidates for the KMC polls,” a senior TMC leader said.
The elections to 144-member KMC, along with 112 municipalities and municipal corporations, were due in April-May 2020.
However, the polls were postponed due to the raging COVID-19 pandemic.
The state government has decided to first conduct the elections to KMC and Howrah Municipal Corporation in December.
These civic bodies are now being run by a state-appointed Board of Administrators.
(With PTI Inputs)