The Left Front today announced its candidates for Kolkata municipal corporation elections scheduled to be held on 19 December. In 144 Wards of KMC, the Left Front has declared candidates for 114 Wards sparing around 17 seats for candidates from “non-Left” parties.
Women constitute about 50 per cent of the candidates. Of the total candidates, 17 are minorities. Addressing a Press conference at Pramod Das Gupta Bhavan, the secretary of Kolkata district CPI-M, Kallol Majumdar said that the Left Front, after much deliberation on the matter of fielding candidates, which included a possible seat-sharing understanding with the Congress, has eventually decided to field its own candidates in about 127 seats and spare 17 wards for “non-Left” candidates.
Asked if that indicates Congress, he clarified “It does include Congress or members from any party that opposes the BJP and the Trinamul Congress”. He announced the names of candidates for a total of 114 seats while clarifying it would again reveal names for another 13 seats in the second phase.
Majumder highlighted that the number of new faces is promising. CPI-M candidates form the major chunk of the list which also includes Forward Bloc and RSP. The 13 wards which now remain undecided are Wards Nos. 6, 25, 34, 39, 51, 79, 83, 90, 104, 106, 113, 130, 141.
CPI-M sources highlighted that in this civic poll, the Left Front is aiming to win at least 40 seats where it will put up a fierce fight. For the rest, it is looking to increase the vote share. The Left in 2015 KMC polls had bagged a total of 15 wards while the Congress won in five and the BJP in seven wards.
Highlighting the issues that would feature in the Left’s campaign while interacting with the voters, he said, “One of the issues is the environmental threat that already is and will be affecting Kolkata in the near future. A lion share of the responsibility to conserve the environment in Kolkata and mitigate any adverse impact, lies with the KMC. The scientists have already listed 10 cities which could, in next 10 years, go underwater due to rise in sea level and this includes Kolkata.”
“At a time when the world is talking about climate change, here we have a Trinamul led municipal corporation that continues to look away from illegal filling up of water bodies to pave the way for construction which has no permit. The groundwater is drying up. The dilapidated buildings are collapsing during a spell of heavy rainfall or in a cyclone.
The slums are in terrible condition due to a lack of development and maintenance by the TMC-run KMC board. About 28,000 positions in KMC are vacant due to failure in making recruitment. The citizens of Kolkata needs to save their homes and avail the municipal amenities they are entitled to. This can only be achieved by not casting votes for TMC and the BJP” he said.