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Municipal elections

Calcutta, June 14: In a rerun of the just-concluded panchayat elections, a beleaguered Trinamul Congress is unable to put up candidates for the 265 seats under 14 municipalities, which are scheduled to go to polls on June 22.

The CPM, buoyed by an electoral victory, has decided to field candidates for 201 seats, leaving the rest to its smaller partners. The Trinamul is contesting in 139 seats while the Congress has put up candidates for 180 seats.

State election commissioner Ajoy Sinha today said that 14 municipalities would go to polls next Sunday. A total of 837 candidates are in the fray for the elections, the results of which will be declared on June 24.

Sinha said 3,500 personnel will be required to conduct the elections and added that the poll panel has decided to depute 20 observers, who will tour different municipalities and report to the commission.

Byelections to other wards under Garulia and Halisahar municipalities in North 24-Parganas, Englishbazar in Malda, Mekhligunj and Haldibari in Jalpaiguri and Dubrajpur in Birbhum district will also be held on June 22, Sinha said.

Panihati municipality in North 24-Parganas will also go to polls on June 22. With dissident CPM leaders pitted against the CPM in this sensitive municipality, the commission has deputed three observers.

The CPM is contesting largest number of seats among the Left Front partners. While the CPM has fielded 201 candidates, the RSP, CPI and Forward Bloc are fighting 42, 14 and 21 seats respectively. After CPM, it is the Congress which has fielded maximum number of party candidates (180) for the elections. Trinamul Congress holds the last position and has fielded only 139 candidates for the elections. There are also 166 independent candidates in the fray, Sinha added.

Though there is no official electoral alliance between Trinamul Congress and BJP, local leaders of both the parties have already fielded candidates of both the parties on the basis of understanding between them at the local level. The BJP is fighting 63 seats while Trinamul Congress is contesting 139 seats. Together, they have fielded 202 seats out of total 265.

About 7.86 lakh electorate will use their franchise during the June 22 elections. The 939 booths would be set up to conduct the polls.

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