Left Front wins in Haldia, Congress retains Cooper's Camp

Though the Trinamool Congress managed to take control of four of the six civic bodies to which elections were held on Sunday, the Left Front's victory in Haldia — a municipality in Purba Medinipur district considered a Trinamool stronghold — took the shine off the party's performance when the results were announced here on Tuesday.

The other setback the Trinamool suffered was at Cooper's Camp in Nadia district, this time at the hands of its partner in the government, the Congress.

The Trinamool, which has swept every election in the Purba Medinipur district since the panchayat polls in 2008 (it won both Lok Sabha seats in 2009 and all 16 Assembly segments in 2011), may have lost out to the Left Front in Haldia, but won in Panskura.

As for the Left Front, it ceded control of the Durgapur Municipal Corporation and the Dhupguri civic body to the Trinamool. It all but made amends with its victory in Haldia, which had become a “fight for prestige” for its opponent.

The Trinamool leadership insisted that the results in Haldia were “not shocking” as the Left won with only a slender margin. “A glass can be seen as half-empty or half-full … In Haldia, in 2007 the Congress and the Trinamool Congress together had won in seven wards and this time we have won in 11 wards on our own,” Industries Minister Partha Chatterjee told journalists.

Overall, the Trinamool has won 72 of the 129 wards in the six civic bodies, its general secretary and Railway Minister Mukul Roy said.

In 2007, the Trinamool and the Congress contested the elections after arriving at a seat-sharing agreement, but together had managed to control only Cooper's Camp, Nalhati and Panskura.

But this time, the Trinamool, which went it alone, fared better, not only retaining Nalhati and Panskura but also wresting control of Durgapur and Dhupguri from the Left, though losing to the Congress at Cooper's Camp.

In the Durgapur Municipal Corporation — a body that the Left has controlled since 1996 when it was upgraded to the status of a Corporation — the Trinamool increased its tally from three councillors in 2007 to 29 in these elections. The Left's numbers there have declined from 37 to 11.

Dhupguri in Jalpaiguri district has also shown a reversal of fortunes from the 2011 Assembly polls. The CPI(M) had won Dhupguri in last year's Assembly elections, but managed to win only four of the 16 seats in these polls.

The Congress managed to hold its ground in Cooper's Camp in Nadia district winning 11 of the 12 wards, though the party's tally in nearly every other civic body declined from the 2007 figures.