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Kolkata: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday announced the names of candidates for elections to the 144-ward Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC), inducting more than 48 young faces to take on the ruling the Trinamool Congress (TMC).

This civic poll will be a prestige battle for the saffron brigade to stay afloat in Bengal’s politics after the Assembly poll debacle in the state in which TMC swept most of the seats.

Significantly, unlike the induction of TMC turncoats and celebrities in the party during the 2021 Assembly polls, the BJP this time has fielded party leaders, old workers and active members to contest the KMC elections.

Addressing a press conference, Pratap Banerjee, in-charge of the upcoming KMC election management committee of the BJP, said, “We have fielded nearly 48-50 young faces and nearly 50 women to contest the KMC polls. There are five lawyers, one ex-colonel, three doctors and four teachers/professors in the fray. We have given chances to nearly 21 businessmen and students too and we are expecting good results.”

Banerjee questioned why the State Election Commission issued KMC poll notification when the matter is pending before the Calcutta High Court.

BJP Spokesperson Shamik Bhattacharya, who was also present at the event, said, “It is unfortunate that the State Election Commission decided to hold the KMC polls despite knowing that the matter is pending for hearing in the court. We wanted to take on the ruling TMC in all the civic polls in one phase. We are not afraid of civic polls.”

When asked to elaborate how many minority candidates are there in the candidate’s list, he said, “We have not segregated the list based on caste. The BJP doesn’t do politics in the name of caste and religion. We have given tickets to those who are well connected with the people in their respective areas.”

On the context of why (unlike 2019 Lok Sabha and 2021 Assembly Polls in the State) they have not given tickets to the celebrities, he said, “Let them do the shooting now.”

In 2015, the ruling party in the KMC polls had won 126 wards in Bengal. The KMC elections, along with 112 other municipalities and municipal corporations, were due in April-May 2020. The polls were postponed due to the COVID pandemic situation.

Presently, all civic bodies in the state are being run by state-appointed boards of administrators.

As per the notification issued by WBSEC, Secretary, N. Sandilya, polling (in all the 144 wards) will be held on December 19 from 7 AM and 5 PM and counting will be held on December 21. The Model Code of Conduct came into effect from November 25.

The last date of filing the nominations is December 1, while scrutiny of the nominations will be held on December 2.

The last date of withdrawal of candidates is December 4 and the entire election process will be completed on December 22.

The BJP has demanded that all pending civic polls in the state be held simultaneously and not selectively as per the convenience of the TMC.

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