As the Kolkata Municipality Corporation (KMC) goes to poll tomorrow kickstarting the civic body election across West Bengal, the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) is widely expected to register yet another comfortable electoral victory. Rather, the election is more about a fight between CPI-M led Left Front and Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) for the second slot which may help to play the main opposition to Mamata Banerjee in 2016 assembly election.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into Saradha scam unearthing many TMC leaders' alleged involvement in Saradha scam may have tarnished Mamata Banerjee's party off-late, but the recent by-polls in West Bengal have already proved in West Bengal, a political party needs booth level organisation to win votes more than anything. KMC election yet once again may highlight that point.
An opinion poll by AC Nielsen and ABP Ananda, has predicted 103 seats in the 144-ward KMC for the ruling party, while an internal assessment of Trinamool Congress gave itself a tally of 115 seats in the Kolkata Municipal Corporation election scheduled tomorrow. In the districts where elections in 92 municipalities will take place on April 25.
Only concern for Mamata Banerjee's party seems to rebel party leaders, many of whom are contesting from several wards as independent candidates. "There are rebel candidates in about aver 20 wards. We hope they would not be spoilsport. There is nothing else we should be bothered about for winning KMC election," said a senior TMC leader.
CPI-M and BJP on the other hand, however, are fighting it out to be the number two. Even a fortnight back BJP was perceived to be a serious challenger to TMC, but now it looks like even the Left may fare better than the BJP.
Though TMC had won in 97 wards in 2010 lead in the 141-member KMC board, in view of the Lok Sabha poll results BJP is ahead of Trinamool Congress in 47 out of 141 wards. BJP candidates finished second to TMC in both Kolkata North and Kolkata South constituencies. CPI-M and Congress candidates were distant third and fourth in both the seats in Lok Sabha.
But recent opinion polls and ground realities, are not that enthusiastic about BJP's prospect. Even before the BJP has made a strong foothold in the Bengal politics, the kind of differences that have publicly surfaced among state BJP leadership is certainly to be blamed for this. The live pictures of BJP workers involved in a clash over nomination dispute in front of the party office at Kolkata recently, has surely not gone down well with its supporters.
Add to it the goof up BJP made about actor-turned-politician Roopa Ganguly's nomination. BJP almost decided to project her as the mayor if it had won the KMC polls, but only to realise later that Ganguly can not even contest the KMC poll as her name did not feature in the city electoral rolls.
According to the West Bengal Municipal Election Act, no person who is not a voter of a municipality area is not eligible to contest polls in that municipality area. A party like BJP which aspires to lead the state in coming years, should have known this and needed to avoid such embarrassment.
But, surely all this indirectly helps CPI-M as it is once again hoping all non-TMC voters to support it. Moreover, with Surya Kanta Mishra replacing Biman Bose the new secretary of the CPI(M)'s West Bengal unit, the party has been more aggressive in poll campaign.
And Congress too is fighting the civic body elections, but the dismantled party is just practically fighting to keep its account open in KMC by winning at least a couple of wards.