Wednesday was the last day to submit nomination papers for the Kolkata by-elections. The BJP announced the list of candidates on Monday 48 — hours earlier. From that day till Thursday, the party’s state spokesperson Shamik Bhattacharya has been repeatedly asked if he would run in the by-elections for the post of mayor. Asked why, he explained, “This is our strategy. Even in the assembly election, we did not contest by projecting anyone as the chief ministerial candidate!”
However, Arjun Singh, one of the leaders in-charge of the Kolkata civic polls, said in response to the same question on the same day, “The party manifesto of the Kolkata civic polls will be launched on December 8. Whether or not someone will be nominated as a potential mayor will be known that day. No decision has been made yet.”
The interest among the workers to be a candidate in the Kolkata municipal election was less than 2015 after the party lost a few seats in the assembly election and by-elections, explained a section of the state BJP. In this situation, it may not be realistic for a potential mayor to go public with his face. However, according to other sections of the party, the result would have been better if the potential chief minister had contested the assembly polls face to face. From there, one should put forward someone as a potential mayor in the municipal election. By the way, this time there are many in the list of BJP’s candidates whose mother tongue is not Bengali.
Elections to the Kolkata Municipal Corporation are scheduled to be held on December 19. The state BJP moved the high court seeking direction to the SEC and the state government to conduct polls to all municipalities on a single date. A division Bench comprising Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava and Justice R. Bharadwaj directed the SEC and the West Bengal government to inform it by next Monday, elaborating about the plan to hold elections to the municipal bodies where polls are due.
The matter will be taken up for hearing again on Monday. The saffron party has prayed that elections to more than 100 municipal bodies in the state, where they are due, be held on a single date for the sake of free and fair polls.