The ruling Trinamul Congress has again recorded a landslide victory in the civic elections winning 102 out of 108 municipalities that went to the polls on Sunday. The Left Front won the Taherpur Municipality in Nadia and newly-formed Humro Party won the Darjeeling Municipality.
Four municipalities ~ Beldanga in Murshidabad, Champdani in Hooghly, Jhalda in Purulia and Egra in East Midnapore ~ have a hung situation, with no political party gaining a clear majority of seats. Out of the 102 municipalities won by the Trinamul, there is no Opposition in 31 municipalities. The party won 1724 out of the total 2171 seats and was leading in 94 seats.
The BJP, which had emerged as the main Opposition party in the West Bengal Assembly elections 10 months back, failed to win a single municipality and could secure only 63 seats. The results have indicated a sharp decline in the saffron party’s vote share from 38 per cent in the Assembly polls to 13 per cent. Independents have bagged the second position in term of seats won by securing 116 seats.
According to data available with the State Election Commission (SEC), Trinamul Congress got 62.44 per cent of the votes, BJP 13.42 per cent, CPI-M 11.83 per cent and Congress 5.06 per cent votes.
Trinamul supremo and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee congratulated all the winning candidates of the party and expressed gratitude over the “overwhelming mandate”. “Heart-felt gratitude to Ma-Mati-Manush for yet another overwhelming mandate to us. Congratulations to the winning candidates of All India Trinamul Congress in the Municipal Elections,” she tweeted. “Let victory enhance our responsibility and dedication. Let triumph impart humility. Let us work together for peace, prosperity and development of the state. Jai Bangla,” she said in another Twitter post.
Whether it was the Contai Municipality, where leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari and his family maintained political dominance for decades or the Behrampore Municipality in Murshidabad, where Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury kept the party flag flying high, the Trinamul swept the polls. In a major surprise, the Humro Party won the Darjeeling Municipality. Ajay Edward, owner of a famous restaurant in Darjeeling and a social worker, floated the Humro Party in November last year which gave a new option for hill voters.
Unlike the GJM and GNLF, the new party is not aligned to either the Trinamul or BJP. The SEC will hold a repoll in Serampore in ward 2 booth 3 on 4 March as the data in the EVM could not be retrieved. After their civic poll debacle, the BJP has called an introspection meeting on 5 March at the National Library. All MLAs, district presidents and office bearers of the party have been directed to be present, reported media outlets. According to sources, the organisational issues of the party will be discussed at the meeting.
State Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said: “West Bengal remains in the same darkness where it was before”. The civic body polls recorded a 77 per cent turnout, but were marred by violence. Reports of intimidation allegedly by Trinamul workers, electoral malpractices and attacks on journalists emerged from various parts of the state during the polling day. On Monday, BJP had called for a 12-hour strike in the state against the civic poll violence and alleged electoral malpractices.