Mamata Banerjee may have already won West Bengal panchayat election 2018! Here’s how

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New Delhi | Updated: April 30, 2018 1:39:27 PM

Polling for West Bengal panchayat elections is scheduled to be held on May 14. However, Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) has already almost won the rural body elections by bagging a staggering 34 per cent of seats without any contest, according to local media reports.

WEST BENGAL PANCHAYAT ELECTIONWest Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee

Polling for West Bengal panchayat elections is scheduled to be held on May 14. However, Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) has already almost won the rural body elections by bagging a staggering 34 per cent of seats without any contest, according to local media reports. “TMC has created a record by winning 20,000 seats in three-tier panchayat elections in West Bengal. However, results may vary in one or two cases,” Bengali daily Anandbazar Patrika reported today.

According to a list of uncontested seats released by State Election Commission (SEC), of the 48,650 seats in 3,358 gram panchayats, 16,814 were uncontested and of the 9,217 seats in 341 panchayat samitis, 3,059 were uncontested. In the 20 zilla parishads, 203 of the 825 seats were uncontested. Reports say the ruling TMC has won a lion’s share of the uncontested seats. Results will be declared on May 17.

While BJP, CPIM have called this outcome a “political farce”, TMC has claimed that people have kept their faith in Banerjee and her ‘development’ initiatives. This outcome is unprecedented as no party has won so much seats uncontested before panchayat elections in the state earlier. In 2003 panchayat polls, Left front had won 11 per cent seats without any contest. A total of 23,185 candidates had won without contesting during the period between 1978 to 2013. So far, over 20,000 TMC candidates have already won uncontested this year itself, the report said.

In Birbhum district, which has witnessed a string of violence, TMC has recorded near 100 per cent winning margin by bagging 42 out of 42 zilla parishads, 16 out of 19 panchayat samitis and 140 out of 167 gram panchayats without any contest, according to report published by another Bengali daily Ebela. Opposition has time to time accused TMC Birbhum district president Anubrata Mondal of using strong-arm tactics.

The panchayat polls in West Bengal have been mired in controversy as the Opposition has blamed the ruling TMC dispensation of “unleashing reign of terror”. The issue has even reached the threshold of the Supreme Court and the Calcutta High Court. State Election Commission had to change the polling dates which were announced earlier.

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