West Bengal civic polls result is not end of road for BJP in Mamata Banerjee’s citadel; here’s why

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New Delhi | Updated: May 17, 2017 5:17:18 PM

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress (TMC) today won four out of seven civic bodies in the state.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress (TMC) today won four out of seven civic bodies in the state. (PTI image)

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress (TMC) today won four out of seven civic bodies in the state. The civic body polls, which took place on Sunday last, was hyped by the local media as an opportunity for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the Centre to emerge as the principal opposition party to TMC in the state. BJP didn’t manage to win a large number of seats in the polls alone, but it shouldn’t be seen as the end of the road for the national party, which has invested a lot of political capital in the state recently.

TMC managed to keep its strongholds intact and also made inroads into the hills by winning Mirik municipality. With this Mamata’s TMC became the first party from the plains to win in the hills in three decades.

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BJP and its ally Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) won three civic bodies in Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong. Apart from these, BJP secured second position in Pujali on its own and in Mirik along with the GJM. For a party which does not have a strong base in the state, the results are not very disappointing. Besides, anti-incumbency factor does not play a pivotal part in local body elections. Electorates tend to favour the ruling party.

Check out BJP National General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya’s tweet

If any party which lost the ground in these polls is the Congress. It had held the Raiganj civic body which has now gone to TMC.

Check out Mamata Banerjee’s tweet

On May 2, Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh had said that 2018 panchayat elections in West Bengal would be the ‘quarter-final’ while the 2019 Lok Sabha poll would be the ‘semi-final’ before the Assembly election in 2021. Ghosh had exuded confidence that the party would put up a strong fight against TMC in the panchayat election and asked party cadres to fan out in districts to strengthen the organisation at the grassroots level.

Ghosh’s statement ahead of the civic body polls hinted BJP was aware it would be an uphill task to score better than TMC in all seven municipalities. And that’s why the party had set a realistic target. Ghosh had also asked the BJP state unit to prepare around 10,000 dedicated cadres who would visit each and every booth of the state and talk about achievements of the Modi government and “misrule of the TMC regime”, according to PTI report.

BJP national president Amit Shah during his recent visit to West Bengal had stressed on forming booth protection committees at every booth across the state.

Here is how the parties performed in the civic body polls:

According to PTI, TMC has won Domkal municipality in Murshidabad district capturing 18 of the 21 wards. Congress won the remaining two seats while the CPI(M) bagged one.

In Raiganj municipality of North Dinajpur district, TMC caputured 24 of the 27 wards while Congress won in two wards and BJP in one.

TMC bagged Pujali municipality in South 24 Paraganas district winning 12 of the 16 wards. BJP bagged two seats while Congress and an independent candidate won one seat each.

Although GJM manged to retain three civic bodies in the hills, TMC put up a creditable performance winning in Mirik. Of the nine seats in Mirik, TMC won six and GJM three. GJM, however, maintained its supremacy in other civic bodies in the hills.

The Morcha won 31 of the 32 seats in Darjeeling municipality while TMC managed to a seat.

In Kurseong, GJM won 17 wards while TMC bagged the remaining three.

GJM also won the civic body in Kalimpong capturing 19 of the 23 seats while TMC bagged two.

Jan Andolan Party of Harka Bahadur Chetri, a former GJM leader who tried to outsmart the Morcha, failed to make a major gain in Kalimpong and managed to win only two seats.

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