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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 16 July 2024

Lok Sabha elections: Chief minister Mamata Banerjee to review TMC voting in civic areas

Despite the Trinamool Congress ensuring 29 victories in 42 Lok Sabha seats in Bengal, the BJP has gained significant leads from at least 70 out of 125 civic areas in the state

Snehamoy Chakraborty, Subhasish Chaudhuri Published 24.06.24, 05:11 AM
Mamata Banerjee

Mamata Banerjee File image

Mamata Banerjee will on Monday hold a meeting with the chiefs of 116 municipalities and seven municipal corporations to take some corrective measures in running the civic bodies, against the backdrop of her party’s underperformance in urban and semi-urban pockets in the Lok Sabha elections.

Despite the Trinamool Congress ensuring 29 victories in 42 Lok Sabha seats in Bengal, the BJP has gained significant leads from at least 70 out of 125 civic areas in the state. Even in Calcutta — which is considered a TMC bastion — the BJP got a lead in 45 wards out of 144 civic wards, resulting in embarrassment for the ruling dispensation.

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A source said the chief minister was annoyed with the lacklustre show in the urban areas, and believed that poor services and the lackadaisical attitude of those running the civic bodies were among the reasons behind people turning away from the TMC.

“She is likely to ask the civic body heads about reasons behind their failure to win the hearts of people in their area and draw up a slew of corrective measures for them in the meeting,” said the source.

The meeting is scheduled to start at Nabanna Sabhaghar at 4pm on Monday.

“The heads of the civic bodies where the BJP got a huge lead can face the wrath of the chief minister on Monday,” he added.

A senior official said all the heads and their concerned administrative officials have been informed that attendance at the meeting is mandatory.

However, a fresh controversy sparked off over Monday’s meeting as two civic bodies out of 125 in the state—CPM-run Nadia’s Taherpur civic body and currently Trinamool Congress-run Purulia’s Jhalda—were not invited to the meeting.

Leader of the Opposition Suvendu Adhikari said that the heads of those two civic bodies were not invited to the chief minister’s meeting as the TMC did not have elected boards there.

The trend of the BJP gaining ground in urban areas started in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls when the TMC lagged behind the saffron camp in 72 civic bodies out of 125.

The TMC failed to change the trend in the 2021 Assembly polls when the BJP was ahead in 69 civic bodies despite Mamata Banerjee coming to power for the third consecutive term with 217 seats.

“It has been proved in this Lok Sabha polls that a large section of rural voters who turned away from our party voted for us this time. However, we failed to gain the support of urban people despite providing civic amenities and services. Now the time has come to follow the line: either perform or perish,” said a Trinamool leader.

He said that the impact of Lakshmi Bhandar, which is believed to play a pivotal role in rural pockets, apparently had a lesser impact in urban areas and the educated section was not happy with charges of corruption and anomalies, especially with government recruitments.

During his election campaign, TMC national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee sent out a message that those who failed to give the party nominee a lead from theirconcerned areas would lose their post.

Additional reporting by Subhasish Chaudhuri

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