Seven West Bengal municipalities, mostly in the north, will be voting in new representatives in local body polls scheduled on Sunday.
The municipalities include Kurseong, Darjeeling and Mirik, in Darjeeling district; Kalimpong in the newly announced Kalimpong district; Pujali in South 24 Parganas district; Raigunj in North Dinajpur district; and Domkal municipality in Murshidabad district.
Apart from Besides South 24 Parganas, TMC does not have a stronghold in any of the local bodies that are going to the polls.
In North Bengal, until now Trinamool has won only with the local factional support from parties including the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.
Darjeeling has a BJP MP SS Ahluwalia, a junior minister in the Narendra Modi cabinet, while Murshidabad is a Congress bastion with Adhir Ranjan Choudhary curently the district’s MP.
BJP national chief Amit Shah’s recent visit to north West Bengal had highlighted the importance the party was giving to the municipal elections in the state.
TMC chief and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee had made six election-related visits to north Bengal.
The West Bengal muncipalty election marks the first time the BJP and Trinamool Congress will face off in local body polls. Notbaly, the BJP excelled in the previous Assembly bypolls in the state.
Other parties in the fray include Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF), Jana Andolan Party (JAP), and Communist Party of India Marxist (CPIM).
Counting of the votes will take place on May 17.
By Sumana Sarkar