At least two BJP candidates have withdrawn their nominations.


New Delhi: As the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) elections are due to be held next week, BJP candidates see a bleak chance of survival for themselves in the poll battlefield as state leaders, election management committee and some candidates themselves have abandoned the battlefield even before the polls could start.

At least two BJP candidates have withdrawn their nominations from the KMC polls citing that they have received little support from the BJP to contest the elections. Sananda Pathak and Mumtaz Ali are the two BJP candidates who withdrew their nominations last week.

Senior state BJP leadership is also seen missing from the ground with regards to campaigning for the BJP candidates for the upcoming municipal polls. Sources in the BJP said that the election management committee of the BJP that has been entrusted with the responsibility of the KMC polls has also hardly met in the last one month.

“We are campaigning on our own. We have hardly received any support from the state leadership as far as our campaigning is concerned. It feels like that the BJP has already conceded defeat in the polls. The cadre has lost momentum to carry out any campaign for the candidates. Some of the candidates are campaigning on their own, while many are just hitting the streets for about two to three hours a day. Why would a candidate waste his money, energy and effort when the state leadership has already conceded defeat?” a BJP candidate from Kolkata told this correspondent.

The BJP has appointed Dinesh Trivedi and state vice president Pratap Banerjee as in-charge of the election management committee of the KMC polls, while MP Arjun Singh, Jyotirmoy Singh Mahato and Raju Banerjee are the observer of the KMC polls. The other members who have been given important responsibility of this poll include BJP leader Rudranil Ghosh, Baishali Dalmiya, Vijay Ojha, and Tushar Kanti Ghosh.

But BJP leaders accuse that none of these leaders have been seen on the field since the elections to the Kolkata Municipal Corporation was declared last month. “The BJP had in time declared the names of the election management committee. They were supposed to be in Kolkata and manage the elections, but none of them can be seen on the ground campaigning. Everyone is missing in action. This is not the way elections can be won,” a BJP leader said.

This BJP leader also said that the management committee declared by the state BJP did not take into consideration that most of the members of the committee are “outsiders” from Kolkata and that they do not understand the topography nor the issues of Kolkata and that is likely keeping them away from the poll campaigns.

Some BJP leaders also told this correspondent that the BJP has very few workers left to make them as election agents of the candidates and that they are finding it difficult to even find managers for the candidate for the KMC polls. “Most of the BJP workers who were working for the party have either gone underground or have left the party to join the TMC after the Assembly polls. There have been no efforts till now from the party to bring grassroot workers out to the field and campaign for the BJP in the municipal polls,” a Bengal BJP functionary told this newspaper. The BJP has also not fielded any big leader till now to campaign for the municipal polls. Sources in the BJP also told The Sunday Guardian that no central BJP leader would go to Bengal to campaign for the BJP for the municipal polls.

Officially, the BJP has said that the two candidates’ withdrawal was due to the pressure from the ruling TMC. Senior BJP leader and chief spokesperson of the Bengal BJP Samik Bhattacharya told The Sunday Guardian, “The two candidates who have withdrawn their nominations were threatened by the TMC. They have been threatened to an extent that they cannot even speak the truth. It is also untrue that BJP is not fighting the KMC polls with full might. We are putting in all our efforts for the polls and the BJP is the only party that can win the KMC polls as people of Bengal have seen that the KMC has become a den of corruption for the TMC.”