The ruling Trinamool Congress today recorded a landslide win in the municipal elections in West Bengal capturing all the seven civic bodies while the BJP emerged as the main challenger finishing second relegating the Left to the third position. Of a total 148 wards in the seven civic bodies which went to polls on August 13, the TMC bagged 140 while the BJP got six seats. The CPI(M), the main constituent of the Left Front, and the Congress put up a dismal show drawing a blank. The Forwardb Bloc, a Left Front partner, secured a single seat. An independent candidate also succeeded in one seat. The BJP won six seats in three municipalities — four in Dhupguri in north Bengal and one each in Buniyadpur (north Bengal) and Panskura in south Bengal, according to the results of the civic elections.
The TMC won all the 29 seats in Haldia Municipality, 43 seats Durgapur Municipal Corporation and 12 seats in Cooper’s Camp. The TMC also bagged 14 of the 16 wards in Nalhati Municipality while the Forward Bloc and an independent candidate won one ward each. In the 18-member Panskura municipality, the TMC won 17 wards and the BJP managed to secure one ward. Of the 16 seats in Dhupguri municipality in north Bengal, the TMC won 12 seats while the BJP captured four. In Buniyadpur Municipality, also in north Bengal, the TMC won 13 wards and the BJP bagged one seat. The TMC also won the by-election in a ward in Jhargram Municipality and another ward in Champdani municipality.
The election results were indicative of a paradigm shift in the state politics with the BJP emerging as the main challenger to the TMC, according to poll watchers. Trinamool Congress supremo and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee described the win as the victory of “ma mati manush” (mother, land and people). “I am indebted to the people for this victory and I thank them,” she said. “Those who were scrambling to be in the third or fourth position secured only 0.1 per cent of th e votes and got no seats,” Banerjee said without elaborating. TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee said, “The results are a reflection of people’s faith in the TMC government and a befitting reply to the canards spread against us.” On the BJP’s performance, senior TMC leader Gautam Deb said, “The Left Front has shifted its vote to the BJP, while we have increased our vote share.” “It is the Left which is having a tacit understanding with the BJP,” he alleged.
State BJP president Dilip Ghosh, said, “We all know that the TMC used money and muscle power to win the elections. We have seen how democracy was subverted by the TMC. “In spite of a reign of terror, we have managed to win seats and come up to the second position,” he said. The opposition called the civic election results a “farce”, with the Congress and the Left stressing that it was “not a real reflection” of the people’s mandate. State Congress president Adhir Chowdhury said the TMC was ruling “autocratically”. “What is the use of conducting elections in Bengal? The TMC doesn’t allow free and fair elections. If an opposition candidate manages to win, they poach on him,” he said. “We feel these results are not the reflection of the people’s mandate. After the elections were held, we had demanded cancellation of the entire elections as it was not free and fair,” senior CPI(M) leader Sujan Chakraborty said.