Kolkata: In a move perceived as an overture to Trinamool Congress, BJP on Tuesday decided not to fight the Howrah Lok Sabha by-election on the "advice" of party national president Rajnath Singh, a few days after it declared its candidate for the constituency.
The party, however, denied that the decision had been aimed at electorally helping Trinamool Congress.
A party source said the decision not to contest the by-election, slated for June 2, had been taken by the party`s state election committee, a day after BJP national president Rajnath Singh telephoned state unit chief Rahul Sinha and discussed the matter.
The BJP had named former state president Asim Ghosh as the candidate for the contest.
"The state election committee met during the day to consider Rajnath Singh`s advice that the party should not spend its energy in a by-poll when the Lok Sabha election is likely to be advanced and may be held in November," the source said.
Rather, the source said, the party seriously pondered over the national president`s suggestion to gear up for the coming panchayat polls "in which the BJP will fare better this time."
To a question, the party said the decision not to contest the by-poll had nothing to do with helping Trinamool Congress electorally.
"We will be contesting Trinamool Congress in panchayat election. This decision should not be construed as any electoral help to Trinamool Congress," the source said.
Ghosh was asked not to file his nomination scheduled for today. Tomorrow is the last date for filing nomination for the Howrah Lok Sabha by-election.