Booth-level workers find place in the list. Party demands Central forced to monitor election
The Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday announced the list of candidates for the 144 wards of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) and nominated nine Muslim candidates including five women, the highest-ever by it in any local body polls in West Bengal. It fielded nine candidates in Malda, Murshidabad and Uttar Dinajpur with significant minority population in the Assembly polls earlier this year. However, none of them could win.
The Trinamool Congress fielded 23 minority candidates in the KMC poll to be held on December 19.
Five of the BJP’s nine candidates have been fielded in Kolkata Port and Metaibruz areas located in the south-western part of the city with significant Muslim population. The other four will contest from Jorasanko, Beleghata and Chowinghee areas located in central Kolkata.
BJP spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya refused to entertain any question on the number of minority candidates. “The BJP does not indulge in the politics which differentiates minorities,” he said. Political observers feel that the BJP’s move is an acceptance that the party cannot contest in West Bengal without taking into consideration the 27% minority electorate.
The BJP nominated 50 women and, unlike the Assembly polls, has been conservative by nominating booth level party workers. Asked about the party shying away from nominating cine stars, the State BJP spokesperson said the actors are busy.
The campaign has already started with the candidates from the TMC, the Left parties and the BJP hitting the streets. A number of TMC candidates including outgoing Mayor Firhad Hakim filed nomination papers on Monday.
Later in the day, a BJP delegation met State Election Commissioner ( SEC) Sourav Das and demanded deployment of Central armed police forces for the poll. So far, the Commission has not decided on the issue.
The Calcutta High Court will on Wednesday hear the BJP’s petition seeking elections for all the 112 municipalities on a single day.