It's a victory of people's faith in development, says CPI(M)'s Tamalika Seth
The Left Front, retaining the Haldia municipality in Sunday's civic polls in West Bengal, has made a significant dent in a district (Purba Medinipur), considered a bastion of the ruling Trinamool Congress over the past few years.
An upset Trinamool has held the Congress, its alliance partner, responsible for the defeat.
For the local strongman Suvendu Adhikari, MP, who was entrusted with the Trinamool campaign, it was a “defeat but not disaster.”
Shortly after the results were announced, he, however, sought to be relieved as Trinamool youth wing president, saying he would prefer to devote his time to consolidating the party organisation in the district.
Mr. Adhikari alleged that the Congress had not only transferred its votes to the Left but also spread false propaganda against the Trinamool.
Of the 26 wards in the municipality, the Left Front won 15, while the Trinamool had to be content with just 11 seats. It had a lead in 15 of the 26 wards in the civic body during the 2011 Assembly elections.
Asked whether the Haldia results were “shocking,” Trinamool all- India general secretary and Railway Minister Mukul Roy said the party had got more seats and increased its vote share compared to the 2007 polls in the civic body.
In 2007, the Left Front won 19 wards, the remaining going to the Trinamool.
Three-term chairperson of the Haldia Municipality and leader of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) Tamalika Seth described the victory as people's faith in development and their decision against political threats and intimidation. Ms. Seth, wife of the former MP, Lakshman Seth, said Trinamool supporters had not allowed the party to put up posters and banners and its candidates had to satisfy themselves with door-to-door campaigning.
Mr. Seth is under judicial custody in connection with violence during the agitation against land acquisition at Nandigram and adjoining areas.
“Implicating Mr. Seth in false charges, putting him behind bars and running a campaign vilifying him have not gone well with the people. The elections have proved that the jailed leader is stronger and has a greater public appeal,” said Ms. Seth.
Of the six civic bodies which went to the polls, the Trinamool got Nalhati, Panskura, Durgapur and Dhupguri, while the Congress retained Cooper's Camp.