West Bengal civic polls acid test for TMC, BJP

Bengal civic polls acid test for TMC, BJP ahead of 2021 Assembly elections

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. (PTI Photo)

The upcoming Municipal elections in West Bengal will be an acid test for the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and BJP. The civic polls to be held in 110 municipalities, covering 60% of the state, will be crucial for the TMC to prove it has regained ground lost to BJP in the last Lok Sabha elections.

On the other hand, the BJP will be keen on proving that its success in Bengal was not just a one-time occurrence.

The Municipal elections are being considered a semi-final to the 2021 Assembly polls. The results here will be a key indicator of the party's performance in the next Assembly elections. The civic polls are expected to be held in April.

BJP was able to attain is the highest tally of 18 seats from Bengal, chiefly because the voters previously loyal to the CPM-led Left Front voted for it in large numbers. The TMC's perceived highhanded nature in the state did not go down well with a section of voters, who voted for BJP to teach it a lesson.

“This time we will not make the same mistake. CAA and NRC will be our key weapon against BJP,” a senior TMC leader said.

However, the situation has changed considerably now, with BJP cornered in the state due to panic over the Citizenship (Amendment ) Bill and NRC. There is also a possibility of opposition votes, especially those of the minority community, going in favour of the TMC in the municipal elections.

Although municipal elections are usually contested over local issues, this time the CAA and NRC are expected to take center stage. The long queues before municipality offices and banks for obtaining or correcting identity proof in fear of the NRC makes this evident.

On the other hand, the TMC has largely outdone the BJP with regard to the issue of CAA. Capitalising on the image of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and its strong organisation, the TMC has been able organise massive protests against the CAA.

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