KMC Election: BJP under pressure after SC refuses plea for deployment of central forces and no big names for campaign

News Desk: The Bengal BJP unit received a big blow after the Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear plea for deployment of central forces for Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) election. The saffron party will also not get any campaigning help from big names at he center.

Supreme Court refuses to hear plea for deployment of central forces

A bench comprising justices L Nageswara Rao and BR Gavai asked the state BJP to withdraw the plea and move the Calcutta High Court with its grievances and relief that more central forces be deployed for smooth and fair conducted of the civic polls in the state capital on December 19.

Following notification of the civic polls and the BJP finalising its list of candidates for it, the party’s nominees have been threatened and pressured, senior advocate Maninder Singh, who is appearing for the West Bengal BJP, said.

He also said that though complaints have been lodged, no FIR has been registered, so far, by the state police.

“Why 32 (under Article 32 of the Constitution, a petition is filed directly in the Supreme Court)” the bench asked, adding that a petition should have been filed in the high court, which is more aware about the security and other local aspects.

“The problem is if we start taking this on 32, there would be no end”, the bench said, leading to withdrawal of the plea by the West Bengal BJP to move the high court.

No big names this time to campaign for BJP candidates

Facing discontent over the roping in of Union ministers and leaders from other states in the Kolkata municipal corporation, the BJP high-command took a U-turn and decided to withdraw such campaigners.

Political observers attribute the BJP’s U-turn to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s aggressive pitch of branding the saffron camp as a party of ‘‘outsiders’’ in the run up to the Bengal polls. Discontent in the state unit spread after the party brass rope in Union ministers and star leaders, including Smriti Irani, Manoj Tiwari and Giriraj Singh, as star campaigners for the Kolkata Municipal Corporation election.

‘‘We opposed the decision because visit of such leaders did not secure any electoral dividend in the recent Assembly polls. Instead, it handed over a political tool to Mamata to attack us. She relentlessly continued branding our party as an outfit of outsiders which resulted consolidation of Bengali electorates against us to some extent’’ said a BJP leader.

The BJP leadership has decided to engage party functionaries and prominent faces of Bengal to participate in the campaigns. ‘‘This is the lowest rung of elections in the existing electoral exercise. The faces of local party functionaries should be roped in. Because, they know the political issues, which may give us dividend, like the back of their hand, not the leaders from Bihar, UP or Bihar’’ said the leader.  For the Bengal poll, the BJP had fielded heavyweights Narendra Modi, Amit Shah, Smriti Irani, and Yogi Adityanath but it did not help the party.