KOLKATA: BJP on Tuesday demanded simultaneous election to municipalities and municipal corporations in West Bengal in February and deployment of central forces for it. State BJP vice-president Pratap Banerjee told reporters that the party has filed a petition in the court with this demand and a plea to the judiciary to intervene.

“We have serious apprehension that if the civic bodies election is held under the supervision of state police and administration it will not be free and fair. Everyone remembers the 2018 panchayat poll when a large number of people could not cast their votes and opposition candidates were beaten up and threatened by the Trinamool Congress. We do not want a rerun of it”, he said.

Banerjee said that in the past 10 years under TMC rule only in 2011 the municipal election was held in a free and fair manner. Bengal BJP president Sukanta Majumder too demanded that election in municipalities and municipal corporations be held together.

“Don’t understand why the state is intent on holding these polls separately. This (TMC) government has stalled these polls for a long time and appointed administrators from its own camp depriving lakhs of voters the opportunity to vote,” he said.

West Bengal Minister of State for Municipal Affairs and Urban Development Chandrima Bhattacharya had said that last week that talks are on to with State Election Commission to hold the Municipal and corporation polls in the coming days.

There were reports that the state government recommended to the SEC for holding polls in Kolkata, Howrah and Bidhannagar municipal corporations on December 19 and in all municipalities of the state in January-February.

Election to 112 municipalities and five municipal corporations are overdue in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.