West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress leadership has decided to conduct a survey to assess its support base and the inroad made by its chief challenger Bharatiya Janata Party ahead of elections to be held in 107 municipalities of the state and the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) next year.
The elections to the civic bodies are being tipped as a dry run before assembly poll in West Bengal due in 2021. The results of the 107 municipal polls and the KMC, covering nearly 60 per cent of the state, will act as a bell-weather of for the 2021 assembly poll. The municipal polls have acquired more importance as the BJP had made deep inroads in the state and emerged as the main challenger to the ruling TMC by pushing Congress and Left Front to distant third and fourth position respectively.
In this year’s parliamentary election, the BJP bagged 18 out of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state, just four less than Trinamool whose tally of seats came from 34 in 2014 to 22 seats in this election. Trinamool sources said the survey would be conducted by the party with the active help of poll strategist Prashant Kishor and his I-PAC team which was hired after the party’s dismal performance in the national polls.
"The survey would look into various aspects, including our support base among people, local issues, image of the councillors, grievances of the locals and penetration of the BJP in those areas. If everything goes well, the survey is likely to start from November and by February 2020, we will have the report," a senior Trinamool leader said.
The Trinamool Congress leadership has called a meeting of ward, block and district committees' presidents on Tuesday. West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool supremo Mamata Banerjee, along with senior party functionaries and Prashant Kishor, will attend the meeting to prepare a draft strategy for the municipal polls.