It has registered impressive gains, leading in 13 of the 17 zilla parishads
The Trinamool Congress is all set to sweep the panchayat election in the State, continuing its run of electoral triumphs. The ruling party has registered impressive gains in all the three tiers — gram panchayat, panchayat samity and zilla parishad. Out of the 17 zilla parishads, the Trinamool is leading in 13, wresting control of 11 from the Opposition and holding on to the two it had held. The Left Front, which had won 13 in the 2008 elections, was ahead in three while the Congress, which had won two, is leading in one.
The Trinamool won a majority of the more than 3,215 gram panchayats, gaining control of more than 1,800 bodies even as the results continued to pour in late on Monday evening. At the panchayat samity level it was leading in 163 out of the 329 samitis.
The Opposition, which alleged large-scale electoral malpractices during the elections in which the Trinamool got a head start by winning more than 10 per cent of the seats uncontested, has been able to put up some resistance to the Trinamool juggernaut. The Left is leading in Jalpaiguri, Uttar Dinajpur and Malda districts in north Bengal, while the Congress is set to continue its supremacy in Murshidabad.
Reacting to the results, Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chairperson Mamata Banerjee said her party’s victory was “the victory of rural Bengal, that of ‘ma, mati, manush’ [ Trinamool’s slogan].”
Claiming that her party got between 74 to 75 per cent of the votes, Ms. Banerjee said the “Trinammol Congress had forged a grand alliance with the people” in the face of an “unprincipled alliance” of the Opposition parties. The Trinamool, she claimed, had made new inroads in several areas,, particularly in North Bengal, since the 2011 Assembly polls.
“All forces were arrayed against us, including the Centre and constitutional bodies (the State Election Commission),” Ms. Banerjee said. As for the Opposition’s allegations of“threats, violence and electoral malpractices,” what was the poll panel doing, Ms. Banerjee questioned back. “The [State] Election Commission is not mine; they [those in the Commission] were appointed by the CPI(M) at the time of the Left Front government … People do not tolerate such lies,” she added.
Left Front chairman Biman Bose, however, said the polls were rigged and ballot boxes were tampered with. Other electoral malpractices took place with manipulations taking place even during the counting of votes, he said. The Trinamool along with a section of police and SEC officials, Mr. Bose said,were involved. “Where terror was unleashed, booths were captured, counting centres were vandalised, there the Trinamool Congress has emerged victorious,” he said, adding that the “people’s verdict had not really found an expression as the elections were turned into a farce.” State Congress spokesperson Abdul Mannan said the Trinamool won because of the terror it had unleashed. “Wherever the Trinamool Congress was unable to unleash terror, people have voted against the party,” he said, citing how the ruling party did not do well in Murshidabad, Nadia, Malda, and Jalpaiguri districts as it was unable to resort to violence due to the presence of Central forces.