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Tuesday , May 20 , 2014
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Babul card in civic polls

Trinamul candidate Dola Sen with her BJP rival Babul Supriyo on May 16 morning, a few hours before the results were announced

Asansol, May 19: The BJP has decided to request Babul Supriyo to campaign for its candidates for the Asansol and Kulti municipal elections next month, seeking to cash in on the singer’s popularity in the Lok Sabha seat where he trumped Trinamul’s Dola Sen by over 70,000 votes.

Asansol MP Supriyo had got substantial leads in most of the wards under the two Trinamul-run municipal areas in the Lok Sabha elections. The boards at the two civic bodies will have to be formed by July 17.

“We don’t want to waste time. The people of Asansol have preferred Babul Supriyo to the CPM’s and Trinamul’s candidates. Our party has done exceptionally well here and the wind is in our favour. So, we have decided to project Babul as the party’s face for the polls to the two civic bodies,” said Nirmal Karmakar, the BJP president in Asansol.

The leader added that the BJP would kick off its campaign soon after the singer’s return from Delhi following the formation of Narendra Modi’s cabinet.

“We expect Babul Supriyo to get a berth in Modiji’s cabinet. We will start campaigning soon after that. The people have rejected both the Left and Trinamul here. The BJP is the their choice. We will also request Modiji to come to Asansol again if he can find time,” Karmakar added.

Supriyo said over phone from Delhi that he would “happily” campaign for the civic poll candidates.

“I will do that happily and try my best to help my party do well in the municipal elections,” the Asansol MP said.

Asked if he thought he would become a minister in Modi’s government, the singer said: “It’s up to our captain Modiji and other senior leaders. I will do whatever responsibility is assigned to me,” he said.

According to sources, the BJP got the larger chunk of votes in the Asansol South and North Assembly segments, which make up the Asansol Municipal Corporation area. In Asansol South, the BJP got a lead of around 21,000 votes, while in the north segment, the party led by 25,000 votes.

The party also performed well in Kulti, also under the Asansol Lok Sabha seat. The BJP got around 40,000 votes more than Trinamul there.

In 2009, the Congress-Trinamul combine took control of the Asansol Municipal Corporation from the Left. But the Congress was hit by a barrage of defections to Trinamul over the years. Currently, Trinamul has 32 councillors in Asansol, while the Left has 17 and the Congress, one.

The Kulti municipality has been under Trinamul for the past decade. The 35-member board in Kulti comprises 21 councillors from Trinamul, 10 from the Left and four from the Congress.

Trinamul, yet to come out of the “shock” following the defeat in Asansol, said the party had not decided on its candidates and strategies for the civic polls.

“We are yet to decide on our poll strategy and candidates. The state leadership has still not given us any instruction on this. We are expecting the poll notification by the end of this month,” said V. Shivdasan, the working president of Trinamul in Asansol.

Asked about the alleged threat of denying tickets to councillors who failed to ensure leads for Trinamul candidate Dola Sen in their areas, Shivdasan said everything would be decided by the leadership in Calcutta.