Polling for seven municipalities across West Bengal began on Sunday. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress (TMC) will look to consolidate its position as the numero uno party in the state. BJP buoyed by its astounding victories in successive elections in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Delhi MCD polls, wants to leave a mark in these elections to maintain its steady growth to challenge TMC. On the other hand, CPI(M) and Congress have gone for electoral understanding to take on TMC and BJP, as per reports.
Among the seven civic bodies, four are in Darjeeling hills. These are Darjeeling, Kurseong, Kalimpong, Mirik Notified Area Authority in the Hills. Rests are Domkal in Murshidabad, Pujali in South 24-Parganas, and Raiganj in North Dinajpur.
Prior to the elections, opposition parties have accused Trinamool Congress of resorting to ‘strong arm tactics’ and demanding a free and fair poll, PTI reported.
Here are key points
Election in Darjeeling district, is witnessing a straight fight between an aggressive TMC and GNLF alliance and Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM)-BJP alliance. Today’s election will decide who will rule in the hills which is a stronghold of GJM for last one decade. GJM has accused the ruling party of the state of poaching its leaders and spreading lies and canards against it, the agency reports. State minister Aroop Biswas, who is in charge of the hills, however has rejected the GJM’s charge.
Election in Domkal is witnessing a fight between TMC and Congress-CPI(M) alliance.In Pujali and Raiganj, TMC is likely to face challenge from BJP as well apart from CPI(M) and Congress, the PTI report says.
Apart from local issues, the BJP has made ‘politics of minority appeasement’ by the ruling party as an issue during their campaign. BJP was trying to gain out of the recent tussle between TMC government and the RSS-BJP combine over the Ram Navami rallies in the state, it says.
TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee told PTI, “The communal politics of BJP and the political opportunism of Congress and CPI(M) alliance will be defeated by the people of Bengal. The people are with us and it will be proved again.”
On the other hand, BJP state president Dilip Ghosh, said if elections were held in a “free and fair” manner, his party would emerge victorious in all the three municipalities. “We doubt whether elections will be free and fair. The state police which is under the state government cannot ensure free and fair polls,” Ghosh alleged.
A left and Congress delegation had met the State Election Commissioner demanding holding of free and fair election.