Civic polls in Hills and plains likely to be held on May 14
Election in the seven municipalities including four in the Hills is likely to be held on May 14. This came up during the all-party meeting held between the state Election Commission and leaders of different political parties.
The state Election Commission will publish the notification on April 17 while the counting is likely to be held on May 17.
In the Hills, the election will be held in four municipalities — Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Kurseong and Mirik. In the plains, elections will be held in three municipalities — Domkol in Murshidabad, Raigunj in South Dinajpur and Pujali in South 24 Parganas.
Subrata Bakshi, senior Trinamool Congress leader and party MP, who met the state Election Commissioner said he had requested him to ensure peaceful and free and fair election and also to ensure that the candidates can submit their nomination freely.
He said since the Mamata Banerjee government had taken over in 2011, violence during elections became a matter of the past. Every election, from civic bodies, to the by-elections to Lok Sabha polls, the entire processes had been conducted peacefully.
Meanwhile, even Rabin Deb of CPI(M) said he had requested the commissioner to ensure peaceful elections.
The most interesting part will be the municipal polls in the Hills. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's visit to the Hills has helped the people to build confidence. The Trinamool Congress had increased its mass base which was reflected in the 2011 Assembly polls.
Tourism, which is the main source of earning for a large number of people in the Hills was badly hit during the Left Front regime. Now, tourism has sprung back its earlier glory and the various schemes taken up to make the people of the Hills self-reliant have become immensely popular.
With this backdrop, election in Darjeeling, Mirik, Kalimpong and Kurseong municipalities is very important and also a test for the Trinamool Congress. Mamata Banerjee has said over and again that the state government will help the municipalities if they are properly run.
The aimless politics of Gorkha Jana Mukti Morcha (GJMM) has caused a major dent in its mass base and the party is going to face challenge in the civic polls.
Before the 2018 Panchayat Election, the results in the civic body polls will give a clear picture how people have supported the developmental schemes taken up by Mamata Banerjee.
If Trinamool does well in the Hills, then the Opposition will face a tough fight in the Hills in the 2019 Lok Sabha poll.