BJP to field candidates in all seats for Siliguri Municipal Corporation election

Siliguri, May 29: The BJP has decided to field candidates in all seats in the Siliguri Municipal Corporation and the Mahakuma Parishad elections, bouyed by its good showing in the town and its surrounding areas in the Lok Sabha polls.

BJP to field candidates in all seats for Siliguri Municipal Corporation election
BJP to field candidates in all seats for Siliguri Municipal
Corporation election

Biswapriya Roy Choudhury, the general secretary of the state BJP, said today: “We have decided to field candidates in each of the 47 wards of the SMC and also in all seats in the three-tier panchayat polls to be held in Siliguri subdivision (for the Mahakuma Parishad).”

Giving the reasons for such a move, he said: “The parliamentary poll results across Bengal, particularly in the Darjeeling seat, have largely encouraged our workers and supporters. Hundreds of people and workers of other parties are joining the BJP every day and many prominent leaders are contacting us and expressing willingness to be a part of the party.”

The BJP had earlier said some Trinamul and KPP leaders wanted to join the party, but there is no independent confirmation of such a drift yet in the region.

In the just-concluded Lok Sabha elections, in three of the four plains Assembly segments — Siliguri, Phansidewa and Matigara-Naxalbari — the BJP led Trinamul, owing to a large population of Hindi-speaking trader residents in the area.

Trinamul’s Lok Sabha candidate Bhaichung Bhutia managed a lead of just 651 votes in the plains, which was because the party led only in the Chopra Assembly segment.

The BJP’s S.S. Ahluwalia won the seat by nearly 2 lakh votes, given the support of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha in the hills and the Modi wave sweeping the country then.

Of the three Assembly segments, the Siliguri town area is scheduled for municipal polls in September this year.

The Matigara-Naxalbari and Phansidewa Assembly segments comprise the panchayat areas of rural Siliguri where the Mahakuma Parishad elections are expected in June.

Roy Choudhury told a news conference this afternoon that he had been appointed observer for both the SMC and Mahakuma Parishad polls.

He said that in the SMC area, the BJP was ahead in 21 of the 47 wards as according to the Lok Sabha poll results.

In the Siliguri Assembly segment, which covers 33 of 47 wards, the BJP had led by 7,526 votes, and in Matigara-Naxalbari and in Phansidewa, it had led by 9,677 and 4,911 votes, respectively.

Narendra Modi himself had campaigned for the BJP in Siliguri. Chief minister Mamata Banerjee, wary of the Hindi-speaking vote going to the BJP, had requested in Hindi to plains residents that they must not divide the vote in the region.

The BJP has won only one seat in the 2004 SMC polls. In the SMP area, BJP has managed to win a few panchayat seats.

“In 2009, we had fielded candidates in 30 of 47 wards in the SMC but could not win any seat. Earlier, in 2004, we had candidates in 15-odd seats and could win only one,” said Arun Sarkar, a national council member of BJP who was also the sole BJP councillor in SMC from 2004 to 2009 when the Left was in power.

“In the SMP polls held so far since 1989, we have pitted a few candidates in all three tiers, out of which only a handful of panchayat seats came to us. This year, however, the situation is different,” the senior leader said.

“We have already initiated the process to build organisation across Siliguri subdivision and intend to field candidates in all seats in both the polls.”

“Considering the margin of the BJP in all three Assembly segments of plains (Siliguri, Matigara-Naxalbari and Phansidewa) in the parliamentary polls, we are expecting excellent results in both urban and rural polls in Siliguri subdivision,” Sarkar added.

In Siliguri subdivision, party insiders said the induction of leaders and workers from other parties into the BJP had started but not at a fast pace like in Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar.

“There is a basic difference in the political scene of Darjeeling with other districts. Trinamul has won three Lok Sabha seats in Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar and thus those in Opposition, particularly the Congress and Left, are being cornered and joining BJP. In Darjeeling district, Trinamul lacks a base in the hills while in the plains, the BJP is ahead in terms of votes,” BJP sources said.

“Workers and supporters of political parties other than Trinamul who are living across Siliguri subdivision, whether in the city or in rural areas, are not feeling cornered because of such results. This is why there is not much of an inflow into BJP. It would, however, surely increase once the rural and urban poll campaigns are kicked off in the subdivision,” they added.

Source: Telegraph

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