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Several BJP, Independent candidates keen to join TMC

Kolkata: Within 24 hours of the Panchayat poll results, several BJP workers and Independent candidates have expressed their willingness to join the Trinamool Congress.
Though the BJP leaders have expressed their satisfaction over the performance of the party that secured the distant second position in the three-tier Panchayat election and many of them were heard saying that the party will bag 14/15 seats in the Lok Sabha election scheduled to be held in 2019, the party's rank and file, particularly those living in the rural belt, are apprehensive about the party's performance in near future in Bengal.
"After 2016 Assembly election, the party has secured the second position in all the by-elections held in Bengal but has failed to improve its performance satisfactorily," said a BJP leader in Purulia. In order to improve the performance of the party, it will have to improve local organisations and nurture regional leaders. "But the leaders in Kolkata are not interested to increase party's mass base in the districts. It depends on the CPI(M) cadres who had supported the party candidates in the election." The tall claims of the BJP leaders that the party will take control over the Zilla Parishads is far from the reality. The party has bagged only 22 seats out of 621 where elections were held. Also, in the Panchayat Samity, the BJP got only 756 seats against the TMC which bagged 4,888 seats. The BJP got 5,747 seats in Gram Panchayat against the TMC that secured 21,110 seats.
Meanwhile, the TMC is trying to understand the reasons behind the party's "not so satisfactory" performance in Jhargram. The area was under the Maoists when the TMC formed the government in 2011. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has visited the area several times to gain the confidence of the locals. Roads and superspecialty hospitals have come up. Despite that, the BJP's performance in Gram Panchayat and Panchayat Samity is best in the district.
TMC leadership is also keeping a tab on the Independent candidates especially on those who are willing to return to the party.
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