Victory of democracy, says Mamata

The peaceful first phase of the panchayat elections in three former Maoist-hit districts of West Bengal, which saw a high turnout and continued till the early hours, was today hailed by chief minister Mamata Banerjee as a ‘victory of democracy’.

‘I salute the people of junglemahal who were not sold out to guns (of Maoists). It is a victory of democracy,’ Banerjee told a panchayat election meeting after the grassroots polls in Bankura, Purulia and West Midnapore districts, which was part of the former ultra stronghold in junglemahal.

‘Polling was recorded as high as 80 per cent. Many people were seen queueing up till early this morning to cast votes. It was a festival of democracy in junglemahal this time,’ Banerjee told a panchayat election rally here in Burdwan district.

‘For the first time people could vote freely. Earlier also the voting percentage was 80 per cent, but CPI(M) used to corner votes,’ she said.
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