The Trinamool Congress maintained its winning streak in West Bengal, trouncing the Left Front in the elections to the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) and emerging as the most successful party in the elections to 80 other civic bodies across the State. The elections were held on May 30.
The results announced on Wednesday are particularly significant as they reflect the choice of a large section of the State's urban electorate in the run-up to the crucial Assembly polls, due next year.
Besides losing control of the KMC as well as the Bidhannagar (Salt Lake) Municipality, the Left Front suffered crushing defeats in most of the other civic bodies in the districts. It failed yet again to check the pro-Trinamool Congress tide that has been in evidence in the State since the rural polls in May 2008. It was one of the front's worst showings in a civic poll in recent times.
The Trinamool Congress won in 25 of the 79 civic bodies in the districts and claims to be in a position to head the boards in at least another 25, where a fractured mandate has been thrown up. It made substantial gains in many areas considered Left Front bastions. The front won in 18 municipalities and the Congress in 7. A tie was reported in 4 civic bodies.
The Congress, which fell out with the Trinamool over seat adjustments, ended up putting in a dismal performance; its leadership admitted that it was far short of expectations. The outcome came as a reminder that the party's survival as a potent force in the State depends on its agreeing to play second fiddle to the Trinamool in future electoral pacts.
After suffering major reversals in the Lok Sabha polls, the Left Front's hope of regaining lost political space were belied, though its leaders maintained that there was a “marginal” improvement in performance since the general elections. They, however, conceded that the results were “bad.”Of the 141 wards in the KMC, the Trinamool bagged an overwhelming 95, while the tally of the Left parties plummeted by more than half to 33. The Congress could muster only 10 wards. The Trinamool came up trumps in 16 of the 25 wards in the Bidhannagar Municipality, the rest going to the Left Front.
Congress congratulates Mamata
Congratulating Ms. Banerjee on her party’s performance, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who is also the West Bengal Congress chief, said he accepted the people’s verdict.
Mr. Mukherjee, speaking to reporters in New Delhi, said till the final results were out, it would be difficult for him to assess the “net loss or net gain” of the Congress, but said his party had lost some and gained some municipalities out of the 14 it held earlier.
“First of all, I would like to congratulate Mamata Banerjee for her excellent performance both in Kolkata and also in the districts. I accept the failure of the Congress to perform up to the expectations which we had. I accept the verdict of the people with all humility,” Mr. Mukherjee said.