Prashant Kishor backs welfare schemes to help TMC sail through Bengal elections
- TMC's election strategist Prashant Kishor asked specific questions regarding the party’s organisation in some zones in Kolkata and asked party councillors if they needed any support from his team or the leadership.
The Swasthya Sathi health insurance policy and other social welfare schemes of the Bengal government will help the Trinamool Congress (TMC) sail through the coming assembly election as long as its leaders stay focused and united, chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s election strategist Prashant Kishor told the party’s Kolkata civic body councillors on Friday evening.
Some of those who attended the meeting, held behind the closed doors of a south Kolkata auditorium, told HT that Kishor asked specific questions regarding the party’s organisation in some zones and asked if anyone needed any support from his team or the leadership.
There are 144 civic administration wards under the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC). Of these, 125 are controlled by the TMC. There are two Lok Sabha constituencies and 11 assembly seats in Kolkata and all were won by the ruling party in the last elections.
Debasish Kumar, the TMC’s Kolkata district president and a member of the mayor-in-council of the KMC and Firhad Hakim, the city’s outgoing mayor and urban development minister, told the councillors to be vigilant about campaign strategies of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said a TMC councillor who did not want to be named.
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“We were asked to be careful about what we say in public. The leadership does not want any sign of dissent to surface,” said the councillor from south Kolkata.
Though the BJP could not win in Kolkata in the Lok Sabha poll in 2019, when it bagged 18 of the state’s 42 seats, the TMC lost votes in several civic wards in the city. One of these wards is in the Bhawanipore assembly segment won by chief minister Mamata Banerjee. Though BJP’s Chandra Kumar Bose, a grandnephew of freedom fighter Subhas Chandra Bose lost the contest, he was ahead in one ward.
The BJP has made Kolkata’s former mayor Sovan Chatterjee its election observer for the Kolkata zone. Chatterjee, who was once one of Banerjee’s closest aides, joined the BJP in August 2019.