Mamata cracks the whip as BJP gains ground in municipal polls

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has decided that Sadhan Pande’s wife, Supti Pandey, will contest the bypolls from m on a TMC ticket

Published - June 12, 2024 12:51 am IST - Kolkata

Mamata Banerjee.

Mamata Banerjee. | Photo Credit: PTI

Despite winning 29 out of 42 Lok Sabha seats in the recently concluded general elections, the Trinamool Congress’ performance in municipal corporations across the State has become a matter of concern for the ruling party.

The Bharatiya Janata Party registered leads in 125 municipalities and corporations in the State in the Lok Sabha polls, and in the Kolkata Municipal Corporation, the BJP established leads in 45 out of 144 wards of the city’s civic body. Even in Bhawanipur, in the constituency of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the BJP had a lead in six out of eight wards.

For the past two days, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has been holding meetings with her party colleagues at the State Secretariat and discussing the way forward, including the choice of candidates for the upcoming bypolls, including the Maniktala Assembly seat in the city. The seat has been lying vacant for the past two years after the death of former Minister and TMC legislator Sadhan Pande.

The Chief Minister decided that Sadhan Pande’s wife, Supti Pandey, will contest the by polls from Maniktala on a TMC ticket. Senior leaders of the party, Kunal Ghosh, and Atin Ghosh, were also present with the party chairperson on Tuesday. Ms. Banerjee has also directed that the late Minister’s daughter, Shreya Pande will have no role in the election process.

Attack on high rise

The TMC had a minor lead of over 3,000 votes in the Maniktala assembly constituency in the Lok Sabha polls. Elections to Maniktala and three other Assembly constituencies will be held on July 10. Though there has been no formal announcement of the candidate, the decision has been communicated to the party’s rank and file.

The Chief Minister also disciplined the local councillor in Ultadanga, where local TMC members stormed a high rise and played loud music after the BJP secured more votes from the area in the Lok Sabha polls. The alleged incident occurred in Maniktala Assembly constituency, and videos of autorickshaws and motorbikes storming the high rise went viral on social media.

While Ms. Banerjee expressed displeasure over the developments last week, on Tuesday she chided the local councillor of ward number 32 of Kolkata Municipal Corporation, Santi Ranjan Kundu. The TMC chairperson asked the local councillor to apologise to people in the high rise.

State BJP spokesperson Shamik Bhattacharya said that people who voted for the BJP are being persecuted across the State. The home of a BJP booth president in Kakdwip, South 24 Parganas, was attacked allegedly by Trinamool Congress supporters who were celebrating the party’s performance in the Lok Sabha polls. The BJP leadership has approached the Calcutta High Court over the incidents of post-poll violence, and the matter will come up for hearing on June 12.

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