The ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Saturday asked party councillors to ensure the success of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's 'Didi Ke Bolo' outreach programme as this will doing so will help them get nomination in the 2020 Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) elections, accoridng to sources. This was conveyed to TMC councillors by Mayor Firhad Hakim during a closed door meeting on Saturday.
Hakim asked the councillors to campaign for the 'Didi Ke Bolo' outreach programme at least four times in November. "The message of the party leadership was clear. If we pass in this (implementing the programme), we would be eligible for tickets in the KMC election scheduled to held early next year," a TMC councillor said after the meeting.
The mass outreach programme is considered to be the brain child of TMC election strategist Prashant Kishor. According to the sources, the TMC has decided to give tickets for the KMC polls to only those candidates who are serious about the implementation of the programme.
The KMC polls will be held along with the elections to 107 other civic bodies across the state in April-May next year. The civic polls, in which about 60 per cent voters of the state would be eligible to take part, are being tipped as 'mini assembly election' ahead of the crucial 2021 state polls. The results of the civic polls will indicate the possible outcome of the assembly elections, party leaders believe.
The polls have assumed significance as the BJP has emerged as a tough challenger to the ruling Trinamool Congress, making deep inroads in the state and pushing the opposition Congress and Left Front to distant third and fourth stops, respectively.
The BJP, in the Lok Sabha elections held earlier this year, bagged 18 of the 42 seats in the state, just four short of the TMC. The TMC's tally came down from 34 in 2014 to 22 seats this time. Following the poor show, the TMC roped in Kishor and his team, I-PAC, to strategise ahead of the assembly elections.
The Trinamool Congress last month launched the third phase of 'Didi ke Bolo' initiative to reach out to people and over 600 block and town presidents of the party were asked to visit more than 2,000 villages and municipal wards across the state.
(With PTI inputs)