TMC, LF release candidate lists for KMC polls
Kolkata: The TMC and the CPI(M)-led Left Front on Friday announced names of candidates for elections to the 144-ward Kolkata Municipal Corporation, with both stressing on young faces and women nominees.
Although the ruling party in West Bengal came out with a list of 144 candidates, the Left Front released names of its 114 nominees, leaving 17 seats for the Congress and the ISF. It will announce candidates in 13 wards later.
After a three-hour-long brainstorming session at Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's residence along with poll strategist Prashant Kishor and TMC general secretary Abhishek Banerjee, the TMC came out with a full list of candidates late in the evening, dropping 39 sitting councillors.
The TMC in the last KMC polls in 2015 had won 126 seats, and 87 sitting councillors have been renominated.
In the last KMC election, we had won 126 seats. Out of them, 87 candidates have been renominated for the upcoming polls and 39 dropped. Of the 87, 78 nominees were fielded from their own wards and six others will have their wards interchanged. TMC Lok Sabha party leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay said
He said the party had focussed on increasing the number of women candidates.
Of the 144 candidates, 64 are women. It means women representation in the candidate list is around 45 per cent. We maintained representation from all sections of society. In our list, 19 are from scheduled caste and 23 from minority communities. Of the 23, two are Christians, he said.
Rajya Sabha MP Santanu Sen, who is also a councillor in the outgoing KMC board, was not renominated this time.
TMC secretary-general Partha Chatterjee said six sitting MLAs, including chairman of the board of administrators of KMC Firhad Hakim, has been given the nomination.
Firhad Hakim will contest from his ward and so will TMC MP Mala Roy. Three more MLAs Atin Ghosh, Debashish Kumar and Debabrata Majumder who were holding important positions in the outgoing corporation, have been fielded too. Two other MLAs Paresh Pal and Ratna Chatterjee will also contest the elections," he said.
Senior state minister Chandrima Bhattacharya's son and late TMC leader and former cabinet minister Subrata Mukherjee's sister have also been fielded as candidates.
Meanwhile, senior TMC MP Sougata Roy stirred the hornet's nest by saying that the party will not accept use of violence and muscle power by its candidates during the upcoming civic polls in West Bengal.
The TMC had to pay a "heavy price" in the 2019 Lok Sabha election for the violence during the 2018 panchayat poll in the state as it had sent out a wrong message about the party, he said.
The CPI (M)-led Left Front left out 17 seats, where it intends to back anti-BJP and anti-TMC forces like the Congress and the ISF.
Unlike the last assembly elections, it did not enter into any alliance with the Congress or the ISF.
The front, first to come out with a list of nominees after the State Election Commission on Thursday notified the schedule for KMC elections, fielded 56 female candidates and 58 male, including 17 from the minority community.
"We have decided to leave out some seats, where our presence is limited, and will support candidates from the Congress, the ISF or eminent individuals, if any, in these wards," Left Front Kolkata convenor Kallol Majumdar said addressing a press conference here.
Majumdar also pointed out that 50 per cent of the candidates are aged below 50 years.
He further asserted that the front's present electoral tactical line envisages that the "BJP is the main enemy and the TMC, too, must be defeated".
Although the Congress is yet to comment on the possibility of an alliance, some of the party leaders started campaigning.
The BJP is yet to come out with its list of candidates for the civic body polls.
The stage is now set for a litmus test for the ruling TMC and the opposition BJP on whether they have been able to hold on to their ground or increase their support base among urban voters since the assembly elections seven months ago. The TMC had swept all the 16 assembly segments in Kolkata in the last election.
The TMC stormed to power for the third consecutive time, bagging 213 of the 294 assembly seats in the state.
The BJP, despite its high-pitched campaign, managed to secure only 77 seats..
The elections to KMC, along with 112 other municipalities and municipal corporations, were due in April-May 2020. But the polls were postponed due to the raging COVID pandemic.
These civic bodies are now being run by state-appointed boards of administrators.