The much-anticipated Kolkata Municipal Corporation or KMC elections will be held on Sunday with a four-cornered contest on cards. While a direct contest is expected between the BJP and the ruling TMC, Congress and CPI-M have also been campaigning aggressively for the polls in a bid to revive their fortunes in wake of the assembly elections debacle. The West Bengal State Election Commission had announced the poll schedule on November 25 saying that polls will be held on December 19. There are around 40.48 lakh electors eligible to vote in the KMC elections while there are 144 wards. At present, the KMC is ruled by the TMC. The party has been governing the KMC since 2010. The voting for the elections, which has been into various controversy, will be held from 7am to 5pm.
The election commission has said that the counting of votes will take place on December 21 and the entire poll process will be completed by December 22. Officials of the Commission said that restrictions relating to COVID-19 would be observed during the campaign. The election has been delayed by around one and half years as the term of the elected members of the KMC had ended in May 2020. The election was delayed due to the COVID-19 situation.
The BJP had approached the Calcutta High Court for holding polls to all the 112 civic bodies in West Bengal simultaneously. The BJP had also filed a petition in the HC seeking the installation of CCTV cameras in every booth for the December 19 polls. Following this, the HC yesterday directed the West Bengal State Election Commission that CCTV surveillance be maintained in every booth for the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) polls. The court also said electronic surveillance should be ensured in strong rooms where EVMs will be stored following the elections.
Meanwhile, the CPI(M) and the Congress had accused the TMC of terrorising voters and not allowing some of their candidates to campaign. The BJP has yesterday petitioned Calcutta High Court for the deployment of central forces during the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC).
All the parties including the TMC and the BJP have already released their manifesto for the polls. While the BJP and the TMC have fielded candidates on all 144 seats, the CPI-M has given tickets o 127 candidates while leaving 17 seats where it will support the non-BJP, non-TMC candidates. Altogether, a total of 950 candidates including the independents have filed nominations for 144 seats. Of the 950, there are 402 women candidates. One-third of the KMC seats are reserved for women since 1995.