The ruling Trinamool Congress is heading for a massive victory in West Bengal rural polls bagging more than 80 per cent of the seats in the three-tier panchayat election, while the BJP emerged a distant second, according to the results declared till 10 am. State Election Commission (SEC) sources said of the 622 zilla parishad seats in which elections were held, the TMC won 522 seats and is leading in 50 seats. The BJP won 20 zilla parishad seats and is leading in three others, they said. The saffron party bagged zilla parishad seats in Purulia (eight), Malda (six), Jhargram (three), Nadia (two) and North Dinajpur (one) districts. The Congress has won two zilla parishad seats in Malda district and is leading in two other seats. The CPI(M) is yet to open its account in zilla parishad but is leading in one seat. Independents have won two seats, SEC sources said.
The TMC continued to maintain its dominance in zilla parishads with a complete sweep in 10 districts. The ruling party had a clean sweep in Jalpaiguri, South Dinajpur, Murshidabad, South 24 Parganas, North 24 Parganas, Hooghly, East Midnapore, West Midnapore, East Burdwan and West Burdwan districts. The counting of votes which began at 8 am yesterday is still on. With the rural polls being the last major election in the state before the Lok Sabha elections next year, a jubilant TMC said the result would boost the party. The BJP said the result in the panchayat polls, which saw its emergence as the main challenger to the ruling TMC in Bengal, would act as a morale booster for the party’s rank and file. The Trinamool Congress outraced others in panchayat samiti seats too by winning 4,900 of them so far and leading in another 58 seats.
The BJP won 740 seats and is leading in 12. The CPI(M) won 108 panchayat samiti seats and is leading in two, while the Congress won 130 seats and is leading in one, SEC sources said, ad ding Independents have won 111 panchayat samiti seats. The TMC also continued to maintain its dominance in gram panchayats, the lowest level of the three-tier panchayat system by winning 21,067 seats and ahead in another 57 seats, for which counting was in progress. The BJP has won 5,737 seats and is leading in 15 seats, SEC sources said. According to a senior state BJP leader, it was the first time in last 10 years that the party had been elected to the gram panchayat level in every district of the state. The CPI(M) slipped to the third position from the second place it had occupied in the last panchayat polls in 2013. It won 1,479 gram panchayat seats and is ahead in another four, the sources said.
The Congress is at fourth position by winning 1,057 seats and leading in four – a score lower than that of independents, who won 1,827 gram panchayat seats and are leading in 18 seats. The panchayat poll was held in 622 zilla parishad, 6,123 panchayat samiti and 31,802 gram panchayat seats in 20 West Bengal districts on May 14. Of the total 48,650 seats in gram panchayats, 16,814 went uncontested. There was also no contest for 3,059 of the 9,217 panchayat samiti seats and in 203 of the 825 zilla parishad seats.
“Despite so much violence, we have won more than 5,000 seats in gram panchayat. Had the elections been free and fair, we would have won 50 per cent seats at all the three levels of the panchayat,” state BJP general secretary Sayantan Basu said. Widespread violence during the polls claimed at least 12 lives and left 43 injured. While the CPI(M) and the Congress dubbed the election a “farce”, the ruling TMC, on the other hand, said the people of West Bengal had voted in favour of development ushered in by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. “People have voted in favour of development and have defeated the forces who were spreading canards against our state,” TMC secretary-general Partha Chatterjee said.
Source: Financial Express