West Bengal municipal elections : TMC wins big, opposition cries foul

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In a major boost to the party ahead of next year’s Assembly polls, the Trinamool Congress today scored a landslide victory in the Kolkata Municipal Corporation bagging 114 of the 144 wards, and also won 69 of the 91 civic bodies in districts across West Bengal.

The victory in the municipal polls, which was billed as the semifinal before the Assembly polls, will act as a shot in the arm for the TMC, which recently faced serious allegations of corruption, including alleged involvement of some of its leaders in the Saradha Chit Fund scam.

Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee termed the victory as “a befitting reply to the slanderous campaign carried out by the Opposition and a section of the media.” The TMC, which in the last KMC polls had won 95 seats, increased its tally to 114 while the main opposition CPI(M)- led Left Front was reduced to just 15 from 33.

The BJP, which was hoping to replace the Left as the main opposition in the KMC, miserably failed, managing to increase its tally from three to just seven seats. Independents bagged three seats in the KMC.

Congress, which was fast becoming insignificant in state politics, managed to win five seats, down from eight in 2010.

Contrary to KMC, the results in the Siliguri Municipal Corporation showed the CPI(M)-led Left Front has managed to regain some of its lost ground capturing 23 of the 47 seats.

TMC bagged 17 seats in Siliguri Municipal Corporation, which was regarded as a prestige fight for TMC leader and state minister Gautam Deb and CPI(M) leader and former minister Ashok Bhattacharya.

Apart from its big victory in the KMC, TMC showed impressive results in municipalities across the state.

The party snatched Sonamukhi in Bankura, Baduria, North Dum Dum in North 24-Parganas, Mathabhanga and Tufanganj in Coochbehar, Gayeshpur municipalities in Nadia from the Left and the Congress.

The Left Front won just five municipal bodies– Jangipur, Dinhata, Daihat, Siliguri and Taherpur– whereas the Congress won five municipalities – Murshidabad, Kandi, Jhalda, Kaliagunj and Islampur. The BJP failed to win even a single civic body.

The fate of 12 municipalities is undecided as none of the political parties managed to get a majority.

Dedicating the victory to the people of the state, Banerjee said the results proved that the Opposition’s allegations of rigging and violence by TMC cadres were “wrong”.

“This victory is an answer to all the slander and canard that was spread against us. Even with so many TV channels you could not do anything. The polls were completely free and peaceful. Had there been rigging, we would not have lost the few seats,” she said.

The CPI(M), on the other hand, claimed that the victory of TMC did not “reflect public opinion”.

“The results do not reflect public opinion but are a reflection of muscle and money power. Wherever the Left has put up a resistance to the violence the people have blessed us. The results have also shown it’s not the BJP, but the Left which still enjoys mass support and can fight for democratic rights,” CPI(M) politburo member Mohammed Salim said.

State Congress President Adhir Chowdhury said that the notion created in the media that Congress had become irrelevant was proved wrong.

The KMC results have shown that only two parties have grown in terms of numbers. One is the TMC which has used muscle and money power to increase its votes and another is BJP which has increased its tally,” state BJP president Rahul Sinha said.

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Mamata Banerjee has announced that party workers will not do any victory celebration in the wake of massive destruction in both India and Nepal due to earthquake. It will be celebrated on 9th May, which is the birth anniversary of Rabindra Nath Tagore.

Senior CPIM leader Sujan Chakraborty has branded the election as complete ‘loot’ by TMC. He said the party wanted to make Bengal completely free of opposition but failed to do so. He alleged that TMC has ‘looted’ at              least 15% of the votes polled.

BJP state President Rahul Sinha has dubbed the election as farce, saying TMC used to strong arm tactics and state machinery to get the result on their favour. Still Rahul hailed the performance of his party in Kolkata,

where the party has won 7 seats and finished in second place in more than 50 seats.

Outgoing mayor of Kolkata, Sovan Chatterjee was declared a winner from ward number 131 of Kolkata Municipal Corporation in the first hour of vote counting on Tuesday. However, the outgoing mayor Farzana Alam is trailing in ward 63 of Kolkata Municipal Corporation.

Out of the total 144 wards of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation, Trinamool Congress is leading in 70 wards, CPM is leading in 12 wards, BJP is leading 12 wards and Congress is leading 8 wards after two rounds of counting.

In ward number 6 of Kachrapara Municipality, former Trinamool Congress general secretary Mukul Roy’s son Subhrangshu Roy was declared a winner. Meanwhile, the Trinamool Congress has won the civic polls in Kanthi, Tamluk, Baruipur, Malbazar Municipalities.

In Katwa, out of total 20 wards, Trinamool Congress won in 10 wards while CPM won in 10 wards. Murshidabad and Kaliaganj Municipality has been won by Congress. Tahirpur and Jangipur Municipality has been won by CPM.

The third round of counting is going on across the state.

In a major breakthrough for the BJP, the candidate for ward 70, Ashim Bose defeated Trinamool Congress candidate Satchidananda Banerjee, who is also the present Kolkata Municipal Corporation chairperson. The entire ward 70 comprises the Bhawanipur area and is a stretch dominated by Hindi-speaking communities – especially the Gujaratis. With most of them supporting the BJP, this win gives them a lead in the KMC where they had been trailing. Banerjee lost to Bose with 1990 votes.

After the third round of counting, TMC declared winner in  as many as 30 wards of Kolkata Municipal Corporation, Left Front declared winner in 10 wards, Congress in two wards and BJP in three wards.

In Siliguri Municipality, Left Front has won 17 wards and Trinamool Congress has 13 wards. Left’s mayoral candidate Ashok Bhattacharya has won in ward number 6 of Siliguri Municipality. Bhattacharya was the minister for Municipal Affairs and Urban Development and Town Planning during the Left Front rule in West Bengal. He was chairman of Siliguri municipality from 1987 to 1991. He faced his biggest defeat in the 2011 assembly election when he lost to Rudranath Bhattacharya of Trinamool Congress.

Leader of Opposition in Kolkata Municipal Corporation and Left Front candidate Rupa Bagchi  lost to Trinamool Congress candidate Shanti Ranjan Kundu in ward 32 of Kolkata Municipal Corporation.

While the election result counting has entered its fourth round, counting at booth number 54 of Rishra has yet not begun. Officers on poll duty, cannot find one EVM, as a result of which, the counting is yet to begin.

Deputy Mayor of Kolkata – Farzana Alam lost to a RSP candidate in ward 65 of Kolkata Municipal Corporation.

While the BJP has won as many as four wards in Kolkata Municipal Corporation, the party is yet to open its account in any of the civic boards of West Bengal. Out of the 91 municipal boards, 84 results have been declared. Of them, Trinamool Congress has registered a thumping victory by winning in 64 civic boards. Left Front and Congress has won in five civic boards of the state.

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