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Buoyant BJP to contest in civic body poll in Murshidabad

BJP seeking to open their account in the first civic polls in Domkal, the youngest municipality in a district where the party never won an Assembly seat.

kolkata Updated: May 10, 2017 07:21 IST
Sreyasi Pal
Sreyasi Pal
Hindustan Times
BJP,Trinamool Congress,Murshidabad
BJP state president Dilip Ghosh (in red jacket), who is a former RSS pracharak and a hardliner, is displaying new verve after the Uttar Pradesh elections and Ram Navami celebrations and Kanthi Dakshin Assembly bypoll results in Bengal. (HT Photo)

Buoyant after the new found enthusiasm in the Kanthi Dakshin Assembly bypoll and the flexing of muscles in the Ram Navami processions in Bengal, BJP has decided to contest elections in the civic body of Domkal in Murshidabad, a district where they haven’t won a single Assembly constituency so far. Domkal is a municipality where an overwhelming number of residents belong to the minority community.

The party has found new vigour after its spectacular victory in the Uttar Pradesh polls and has decided to field candidates in all 21 seats of the civic body.

Read: Kailash Vijayvargiya dares Mamata Banerjee to arrest BJP Bengal chief

Though tiny in its scope in the larger political context of Bengal, the civic body election will be significant as it may provide an indication of the inroads BJP has been able to make in the state. In its national executive meet in Bhubaneswar, BJP president Amit Shah has made it clear that Bengal is now a priority state for the party apart from Odisha.

The Left and Congress are fighting together. BJP has decided to fight it alone and take on both the alliance and Trinamool Congress.

While campaigning for the Domkal civic polls, BJP leaders will highlight the development work undertken by the Prime Minister. (HT Photo)

The party recorded a steep rise -- from 9% in 2016 to 31% -- in the votes in Kanthi Dakshin Assembly bypoll the results of which was declared on April 13.

Incidentally, Domkal is the youngest municipality of the district. It is supposed to go to the polls on May 14.

Read: TMC in a fix over rise of BJP’s aggressive Hindutva in Bengal

Murshidabad has long been known as the fortress of West Bengal Pradesh Congress president Adhir Chaudhury , where Trinamool has been trying to make inroads for the past few years. The effort is being spearheaded by Lok Sabha MP Subhendu Adhikari.

Mamata Banerjee’s party may not be too uncomfortable with BJP in Domkal civic body, but it will keenly watch the results for the number of votes BJP candidates secure. (HT Photo)

In past several months the Congress and Left Front have lost control of six municipalities out of seven civic bodies in the district to the TMC. The fate of the Congress-run Kandi municipality is in the hand of the Calcutta High Court. Congress has also lost control of the zilla parishad to TMC. Both Left Front and Congress have also ceded control of many rural bodies to the ruling party oof Bengal.

”The whole country is now admiring the developmental work and good governance of our Prime Minister Narendra Modi. So, why should Murshidabad lag behind? People across the state have witnessed the growing strength of BJP during Ram Navami and Hanuman Jayanti celebrations,” said Subhas Mondal, the general secretary of Murshidabad BJP.

Read: From panchayat to unconquered territories: Takeaways from the BJP meet in Odisha

“We have decided that all the 21 candidates will be from Domkal,” he added.

BJP had 10 councillors in the seven civic bodies of the district, but five of them have already defected to TMC. Four of the remaining five are from Bendanga civic body.

”About 92% of the voters of Domkal belong to the minority community. So our victory will not be easy. We have focussed on six wards of Domkal. Recently, we have seen that even voters of the minority community have started trusting the BJP,” said the district BJP leader.

BJP is going to highlight the success of Modi government and the development works BJP governments are pursuing in different states. ”We will leave no stone unturned to open our account in the first municipality election at Domkal,”Mondal said.

Leaders of the party told HT that it has been tentatively decided that union minister Giriraj Singh and Rajya Sabha MP Prabhat Jha will come to Domkal for the campaign.

State leaders will soon kick off the campaign.

First Published: Apr 17, 2017 15:48 IST