BJP demands immediate civic polls in Bengal

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Kolkata, Jul 3 (PTI) A day after the West Bengal government wrote to the EC urging it to conduct pending by- elections to seven assembly constituencies in the state, the BJP on Saturday demanded that the polls to over 100 civic bodies, due for over a year-and-a-half, should be held at the earliest.

A total of 107 civic bodies, including Kolkata and Asansol municipal corporations, are currently being run by administrators appointed by the state government.

'Didimoni' (Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee) is in undue haste to hold the assembly by-polls as she is yet to be elected from any seat after losing in Nandigram. She is feeling impatient as she is still the CM and has to be elected from a constituency within six months, state BJP chief Dilip Ghosh said.

'The terms of most of the municipalities and municipal corporations have expired more than a year back and the TMC is trying to retain control over these boards through the backdoor. That should also be kept in mind.

'In such situations, we wonder if the State Election Commission, which conducts the civic and panchayat polls, is in deep slumber. If they don't have any responsibility in holding the civic polls, the people will continue to suffer and remain deprived,' Ghosh told reporters.

BJP sources said that the party hopes to fare well in the civic elections in Kolkata and other urban areas after the fake vaccine racket and the alleged proximity between the kingpin and some influential TMC leaders.

On the issue of by-elections to the seven assembly constituencies, Ghosh said, 'The Election Commission of India will take an appropriate decision at the appropriate time. We are ready for the polls.' The West Bengal government has urged the EC to conduct the pending by-polls, while promising strict adherence to COVID protocols.

Of the seven assembly seats, Bhowanipore in Kolkata is the most high-profile as the TMC chief is speculated to contest from the constituency, which happens to be her home turf, after her defeat in Nandigram to the leader of opposition, Suvendu Adhikari.

State minister and senior TMC leader Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay has recently vacated Bhowanipore and is scheduled to contest from Khardah, where winning party candidate Kajal Sinha died of COVID-19 after voting was over.

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