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Before rural polls BJP sets difficult tasks for its leaders in Bengal

A committee, set up to oversee the affairs of the panchayat polls, has decided that the party will contest every seat in the three-tier panchayat system

Arkamoy Datta Majumdar Calcutta Published 07.09.22, 04:40 AM
MP Saumitra Khan.

MP Saumitra Khan. File Picture

The BJP has tasked its leaders and workers in Bengal with a seemingly improbable target ahead of the panchayat polls next year.

A committee, set up to oversee the affairs of the panchayat polls, has decided that the party will contest every seat in the three-tier panchayat system.


A list of four probable candidates for each seat have been sought from the district leadership, a difficult proposal according to a section within the saffron camp.

Speaking to this correspondent multiple state leaders said there had been little headway in the party's endeavour to set up a district-level committee, followed by block committees and area committees at each of its 42 organisational districts, due to unavailability of manpower. Under such circumstances it is “absurd” to expect four names for each seat in the panchayat system.

“Where do we get so many people?” a state office-bearer asked. “The proposal appears to be absurd.”

The decision was taken at a meeting of the committee to oversee panchayat poll matters on Tuesday.

In 2018, 48,650 gram panchayat seats, 9,217 panchayat samity seats and 825 zilla parishad seats went to polls. According to sources in the state election commission, the number is set to get closer to 61,000 due to increase in population and since rural polls will be held at Kalimpong and Darjeeling districts--unlike 2018--as well.

BJP had bagged only 6,570 — a mere 11 per cent — of the total 58,692 seats in 2018.

“We are considering fielding all those candidates who had contested the 2018 successfully and are still with the BJP. If we do need to give four names for each seat, we would still need to prepare a list of over 2 lakh names,” another source said.

This person added around four months back, the party had decided to set up a three-tier organisational system devoted specifically to panchayat polls. Each of the organisational districts was supposed to have a 23-member district committee, followed by multiple block committees and area committees. Every block and area committee would also have 23 members. So far, little headway has been made with this plan.

“We are struggling to set up these committees, where do we get two lakh names?” the source said. It has been decided at Tuesday’s meeting that the committees will be set up before Durga puja.

Yet another problem for the saffron camp would be scanning for candidates at areas dominated by the Muslim population.

MP Saumitra Khan, who is also the co-convenor of the committee for panchayat polls, however, said that people are eagerly waiting to be nominated by the BJP. “There will be no dearth of candidates. Everything is almost ready. In minority dominated areas we might field our own candidates or we may support independent candidates as well.”

For organisational purposes pertaining to the panchayat polls, every zone — BJP divides the state into five zones — have been assigned with one observer and a co-observer.

Additionally, an observer has been assigned for each of the 42 organisational districts of the party.

The committee is headed by MP Debasree Chaudhuri, who will be sending an update of Tuesday's meeting to state unit chief Sukanta Majumdar and minder for Bengal Sunil Bansal, sources said.

Explosives seized

Police recovered around 30 crude bombs from Kumarganj-Ganipara area located in Ratua-II block of Malda district on Tuesday.

The police had a tip off that crude bombs were stored in a bucket that was buried under the ground.

On Monday, a team of Pukhuria police station reached the spot and cordoned off the area. Later, a bomb squad was called who recovered the explosives and defused the them at a desolate place .

The police said a probe was on to find out who had stored the explosives in the area.

Soumya De Sarkar

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