Trinamool sweeps Bengal civic polls
Kolkata: Virtually bulldozing all opposition, West Bengal's ruling Trinamool Congress on Thursday, swept all the seven civic bodies where polling was held on Sunday. The BJP emerged as the main but distant opposition by displacing the Left Front.
Of the total 148 wards spread across various pockets of the state, the Trinamool won an enviable 140 and the Bharatiya Janata Party six. Left Front partner Forward Bloc won one seat while an Independent also emerged victorious.
The Communist Party of India-Marxist, which heads the Left Front, and the Congress drew a blank.
Thanking the people for giving a resounding mandate to her party, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee dubbed it as "victory of the masses".
"It is the victory of Ma, Mati, Manush (Mother, Land and People)," she said.
In East Midnapore district, the Trinamool bagged all the 29 wards in Haldia and 17 of the 18 wards in Panskura municipalities. The BJP won one ward in Panskura and finished second in most areas of the two civic bodies.
The Trinamool returned to power by claiming 12 of the 16 wards in Jalpaiguri district's Dhupguri municipality while the remaining four went to the BJP.
The Nalhati municipality in Birbhum district also sided with the Trinamool as it finished first in 14 of the 16 wards. The Forward Bloc won one, while an Independent candidate was also elected.
The Trinamool juggernaut rolled on in the first ever polls to Buniadpur municipality in South Dinajpur district, with the ruling party conquering 13 of the 14 wards. The BJP won one.
In Durgapur Municipal Corporation of West Burdwan district, where massive violence and alleged rigging was reported on the polling day, Trinamool won all 43 wards.
The Congress was wiped out in its erstwhile bastion Coopers Camp Notified Authority in Nadia district where Trinamool won all the 12 wards.
Terming the victory as "overwhelming", Trinamool Secretary General Partha Chatterjee refused to give much importance to BJP's ascendancy to the second position in most of the municipal bodies.
"The party that has come out victorious has got 140 seats while the party in the second position got just six seats. What is the point of calling them the main opposition.. their result is not at all relevant," he said.
Chatterjee blamed the policies of the Left and the Congress for the increase in BJP's strength.
"By blindly opposing Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, they have turned the (LF spearhead) CPI-M into a mere signboard in the state while the Congress has been obliterated," he said.
On the other hand, the opposition parties accused the Trinamool of rigging and vote loot.
State BJP president Dilip Ghosh claimed the election result was not a true reflection of people's will.
"We demanded re-election in Nadia and Panskura but that did not happen. There has been massive looting of votes in all the south Bengal civic bodies," Ghosh said.
LF legislative party leader Sujan Chakraborty charged the Trinamool with creating an atmosphere of terror.
"There was no election at all. The Trinamool Congress created an atmosphere of terror and rigged the results in their favour. They are trying to obliterate the opposition from the state," he said.
Chakraborty claimed the BJP's ascendancy was authored by the Trinamool in order to consolidate the anti-BJP votes in its favour.
"Trinamool has to give a certain amount of space to BJP to consolidate the anti-BJP votes in their favour. They are doing just that," he alleged.